Energy consumption model of aerial urban logistic infrastructures

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In the last decade, logistic systems based on small aerial vehicles (drones) have become attractive for urban delivery operations as a sustainable alternative to ground vehicles because they are not affected by the congestion of the road network, thus allowing for faster and more reliable services. Aerial logistic systems, however, require a substantially different approach to operations management and need specifically designed supportive infrastructures. While the research on urban aerial delivery mostly focuses on the optimization vehicle operations, the appropriate design of supportive infrastructures is seldom considered. This paper focuses on the energy efficiency of aerial logistic systems, and proposes a new original methodology to obtain a realistic estimate of the overall energy consumed by a swarm of drones employed for urban delivery, taking into account the extension of the area served and its specific features. The methodology proposed offers relevant information for the decision problems related to the appropriate sizing of the infrastructures, the dimensioning of the swarm of drones and the capacity of the energy storage system. The paper also reports a comparison with ground vehicles in the same scenarios, showing the relevant tradeoffs. The results obtained demonstrate how an appropriate design of the supportive infrastructures for urban aerial logistics may significantly impact the overall efficiency of the delivery system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Optimization
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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