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Mathematical Investigation on the Sustainability of UAV Logistics

Joonyup Eun (), Byung Duk Song (), Sangbok Lee () and Dae-Eun Lim ()
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Joonyup Eun: Graduate School of Management of Technology, Korea University, 145 Anam-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02841, Korea
Byung Duk Song: Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Kyung Hee University, 1732 Deogyeong-daero, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do 17104, Korea
Sangbok Lee: Department of Industrial and Management Engineering, Hansung University, 116 Samsungyoro16-gil, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02876, Korea
Dae-Eun Lim: Department of Industrial Engineering, Kangwon National University, 1 Kangwondaehak-gil, Gangwon-do 24341, Korea

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 21, 1-1

Abstract: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are expected to make groundbreaking changes in the logistics industry. Leading logistics companies have been developing and testing their usage of UAVs recently as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective option. In this paper, we investigate how much the UAV delivery service is environmentally friendly compared to the traditional ground vehicle (GV) delivery service. Since there are fuel (battery) and loadable weight restrictions in the UAV delivery, multi-hopping of UAV is necessary, which may cause a large consumption of electrical energy. We present a two-phase approach. In Phase I, a new vehicle routing model to obtain optimal delivery schedules for both UAV-alone and GV-alone delivery systems is proposed, which considers each system’s restrictions, such as the max loadable weight and fuel replenishment. In Phase II, CO 2 emissions are computed as a sustainability measure based on the travelling distance of the optimal route obtained from Phase I, along with various GV travel-speeds. A case study finds that the UAV-alone delivery system is much more CO 2 efficient in all ranges of the GV speeds investigated.

Keywords: sustainability of unmanned aerial vehicles; green vehicle routing; unmanned aerial vehicle logistics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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