Alongside the rise of ‘last-mile’ delivery in contemporary urban logistics, drones have demonstrate commercial potential, given their outstanding triple-bottom-line performance. However, as a lithium-ion battery-powered device, drones’ social and environmental merits can be overturned by battery recycling and disposal. To maintain economic performance, yet minimise environmental negatives, fleet sharing is widely applied in the transportation field, with the aim of creating synergies within industry and increasing overall fleet use. However, if a sharing platform’s transparency is doubted, the sharing ability of the platform will be discounted. Known for its transparent and secure merits, blockchain technology provides new opportunities to improve existing sharing solutions. In particular, the decentralised structure and data encryption algorithm offered by blockchain allow every participant equal access to shared resources without undermining security issues. Therefore, this study explores the implementation of a blockchain-enabled fleet sharing solution to optimise drone operations, with consideration of battery wear and disposal effects. Unlike classical vehicle routing with fleet sharing problems, this research is more challenging, with multiple objectives (i.e., shortest path and fewest charging times), and considers different levels of sharing abilities. In this study, we propose a mixed-integer programming model to formulate the intended problem and solve the problem with a tailored branch-and-price algorithm. Through extensive experiments, the computational performance of our proposed solution is first articulated, and then the effectiveness of using blockchain to improve overall optimisation is reflected, and a series of critical influential factors with managerial significance are demonstrated.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).
- Drone-assisted delivery
- Mixed-integer programming model
- Sustainable supply chain management
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Decision Sciences(all)
- Management Science and Operations Research