Purdue University Graduate School
Lifting the Efficiency of Food Delivery with Drone Resupply_Yinding Zhang.pdf (1.44 MB)

Lifting the Efficiency of Food Delivery with Drone Resupply

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posted on 2023-04-29, 00:33 authored by Yinding ZhangYinding Zhang

How the world eats is changing dramatically. Nowadays, food delivery, where freshly prepared food is delivered from restaurants to customers' residences or workplaces, has become a huge and rapidly growing market. Yet, the escalating expense of food delivery personnel and the guarantee of fast and punctual delivery are big challenges faced by food delivery platforms. To address this issue, our research proposes drone resupply delivery in food delivery, where drones and human couriers collaborate to facilitate the delivery process. Specifically, drones are responsible for resupplying orders from restaurants to couriers, who then complete the final leg of the delivery to customers. The drone resupply delivery model is particularly well-suited for the food delivery industry, as it overcomes the limitations of drone accessibility to customer locations and adheres to the existing ground-based operational system as much as possible. We have developed a mathematical model and a large neighborhood search heuristic to support this approach. Our numerical experiment, based on real-world order data, has demonstrated that the delivery delay and overall efficiency of food delivery are significantly improved through the utilization of drone resupply, compared to traditional ground-only delivery. Moreover, this improvement is achieved with only a small number of drones integrated into the system. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Industrial Engineering


  • Industrial Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Seokcheon Lee

Additional Committee Member 2

Hua Cai

Additional Committee Member 3

David Johnson

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