Optimization Letters

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 679–697 | Cite as

The vehicle routing problem with drones: several worst-case results

  • Xingyin WangEmail author
  • Stefan Poikonen
  • Bruce Golden
Original Paper


In this paper, we introduce the vehicle routing problem with drones (VRPD). A fleet of trucks equipped with drones delivers packages to customers. Drones can be dispatched from and picked up by the trucks at the depot or any of the customer locations. The objective is to minimize the maximum duration of the routes (i.e., the completion time). The VRPD is motivated by a number of highly influential companies such as Amazon, DHL, and Federal Express, actively involved in exploring the potential use of commercial drones for package delivery. After stating our simplifying assumptions, we pose a number of questions in order to study the maximum savings that can be obtained from using drones; we then derive a number of worst-case results. The worst-case results depend on the number of drones per truck and the speed of the drones relative to the speed of the truck.


Vehicle routing Drones Worst-case analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsMathematics Building, University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Robert H. Smith School of BusinessUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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