On-demand Grocery Delivery From Multiple Local Stores With Autonomous Robots

by Maximillian Kronmueler/

Maximillian Kronmueler


The advances in the area of autonomous delivery
robots combined with customers’ desire for fast delivery, bare
potential for same-day delivery operations, specifically with
small time windows between ordering and delivery. Most same-
day deliveries are operated using a single depot and with
vehicles’ routes planned and fixed when leaving the depot. In
this paper, we relax these two assumptions and focus on on-
demand grocery delivery using a fleet of autonomous vehicles or
robots. The problem features the opportunity to pick up goods
at multiple local stores or depots, for example, supermarkets
within the city, and allows robots to perform depot returns
prior to being empty, if beneficial. This allows for more agile
planning and on average shorter distance to the next depot.
We propose a novel dynamic method for the same-day delivery
problem, where we aim to deliver orders as fast as possible,
minimally within the same day. In each time step (every few
seconds or minutes) the following is executed: For each order
potential pick-up locations are identified and feasible trips, i.e.,
sequences to pick up goods and deliver orders, are calculated.
To assign trips to robots an integer-linear program is solved. We
simulate one day of service in a city under different conditions
with up to 30 autonomous robots, 30 depots and 10,500 orders.
Results underpin the advantages of the proposed method and
show its versatility with respect to different situations.

  • Delft
  • Optimisation
  • Robotics