HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège
HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège

Analysis of supply chain operational performances using vehicle routing with UAV delivery in city logistics

Solomasov, Alexey ULiège
Promotor(s) : Pironet, Thierry ULiège
Date of defense : 3-Sep-2019/10-Sep-2019 • Permalink :
Title : Analysis of supply chain operational performances using vehicle routing with UAV delivery in city logistics
Author : Solomasov, Alexey ULiège
Date of defense  : 3-Sep-2019/10-Sep-2019
Advisor(s) : Pironet, Thierry ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Clavijo Lopez, Christian Javier ULiège
Limbourg, Sabine ULiège
Language : English
Number of pages : 77
Discipline(s) : Business & economic sciences > Production, distribution & supply chain management
Target public : Student
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en sciences de gestion
Faculty: Master thesis of the HEC-Ecole de gestion de l'Université de Liège


[en] Mobility is an important problem today and on-road transport has reached its limit. According to the Brussels Chamber of Commerce, traffic jams cost around €511 million annually in the Brussels-Capital Region only, but when it comes to medical supply, each minute can be a matter of life and death. Meanwhile there are companies that have already successfully set up delivery systems with unmanned aerial vehicles. In Brussels and the majority of other cities in the world, the free airspace, however, remains unused and the main reason for this is the current repressive legislation caused by lack of understanding of the modern UAVs and their operational performances.
Significant headway has been made by the EU. Specifically, in June 2019 the delegated Act defining the technical requirements for UAVs operated in EU went into force and since no objections were raised, it became the start of a one-year transitional period in which drone operators and EU member states should define their future legislation. There are several socio-economic and ethical concerns that fuel the negative image of UAVs among the public and policy makers and that are directly influencing the way the legislation looks like. In addition, the lack of quantitative data on the operational performances of UAVs in specific cases is hindering a rational discussion balancing benefits versus disadvantages. To make an inclusive discussion possible, communication systems to the broad auditory should be set up, both to communicate information on the operational performances of UAVs as well as to nuance the socio-economic and ethical concerns. Only so UAVs potential application that can benefit all the society.
This work first reviews the state-of-the art of drone specifications and possible operational procedures and requirements in order to provide a solid knowledge basis. Then potential socio-economic and ethical concerns are identified and nuanced in the light of the current technological advances. Philosophical and managerial frameworks are discussed that allow to integrate seemingly opposing interests during the debate. Finally, the main body of this work makes a comparison between supply chain operational performances with vehicle routing using UAVs and traditional trucks, based on a case study of medical urgency supply to hospitals in the Brussels-Capital Region. A simulation is run to determine the quantity and types of UAVs the distribution center should have, and an optimization problem is formulated aiming to minimize the total cost for purchasing UAVs in order to equip the distribution center. This example showcases a possible application UAVs in city logistics, and it is importance in solving the mobility issues that modern cities inevitably have.



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  • Solomasov, Alexey ULiège Université de Liège > Master sc. gest.


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