Martin Savelsbergh

Martin Savelsbergh is the James C. Edenfield Chair and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Savelsbergh is an optimization and logistics specialist known for developing innovations in last-mile delivery, advances in dynamic ridesharing, methods for multi-objective optimization, and dynamic management of time-expanded networks.

Savelsbergh and colleague John-Paul Clarke have been investigating how drones, in combination with ground-delivery vehicles, can be used for rapid home deliveries. “As the popularity of online shopping has grown, so too has the desire of consumers to have same-day deliveries. As traffic congestion in cities continues to worsen, retailers and delivery companies are seeking new solutions to provide cost-effective, flexible, and fast direct-to-consumer deliveries,” Savelsbergh points out.

Savelsbergh and Clarke envision a system in which a fleet of drones is used to resupply delivery trucks. They note that this “solves the issue of how to handle delivery addresses without an obvious place for a drone to drop off a package” and that this “enhances safety as the drone, because it will be larger, will be more stable and less vulnerable to adverse weather conditions.” Synchronization is the most challenging feature of their envisioned home-delivery system: “Because the delivery truck and the drone can meet at pretty much any location for resupply to take place, determining the latest possible dispatch time of a package at the fulfillment center so as to reach its destination at (or before) the committed delivery time is far from trivial.”

Learn more about Savelsbergh’s research here.