An adaptive large neighborhood search heuristic for the vehicle routing problem with time windows and delivery robots

Cheng Chen*, Emrah Demir, Yuan Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Considering autonomous delivery robots in urban logistics has attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. In the meantime, new technology has led to new operational challenges, such as the routing and scheduling of vehicles and delivery robots together that are currently outside the logistics service providers’ capability. In this paper, a vehicle routing problem with time windows and delivery robots (VRPTWDR) as a variant of the classical VRP is studied. The investigated problem is concerned with the routing of a set of delivery vans equipped with a number of self-driving parcel delivery robots. To tackle the VRPTWDR, an Adaptive Large Neighborhood Search heuristic algorithm is developed. Experiments show the performance and effectiveness of the algorithm for solving the VRPTWDR, and provide insights on the use of self-driving parcel delivery robots as an alternative last mile service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1180
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Editor the two anonymous reviewers for provided suggestions and careful reading of the manuscript. We gratefully acknowledge the funding received from the Social Science Foundation of Fujian Province (FJ2019B093).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Delivery robot
  • Metaheuristic algorithm
  • Transportation
  • Vehicle routing problem

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