Algorithms to make deliveries quicker, cheaper and greener

Tuesday, 25 June, 2019

Algorithms to make deliveries quicker, cheaper and greener

New algorithms could help make deliveries quicker, cheaper and more environmentally friendly, according to researchers at Swinburne University of Technology.

The researchers have partnered with crowdsourced delivery company Passel to develop algorithms that can assign deliveries based on a courier’s proximity to the package, the package’s recipient and their current route.

In Passel’s case, people sign up to become a courier or ‘passer’ via the app and are alerted when they could potentially make a delivery that fits in with their daily routine.

“The idea behind Passel is that you could be at a store and the app notifies you that someone who lives in your area bought something at that store. If you deliver the item on your way home you’ll be paid $10,” said Passel Founder Marshall Hughes.

Using algorithms developed by project leader Dr Hadi Ghaderi and his team, the app could identify the best ‘passer’ to notify about the delivery, increasing time, cost and environmental efficiencies.

“The challenge for Passel is to identify the ‘passer’ who would be least inconvenienced by the delivery and offer them the job. At scale, it’s not possible to do this with the current systems,” Ghaderi said.

“From the data Passel has shared with us, we are using advanced analytics and real-time optimisation methods that will consider a potential passer’s trajectory. We look at the routes passers travel and target those whose trajectory matches the delivery needs.”

Additionally, “Because Passel takes advantage of a journey someone is already on, net increase in pollution or congestion is either zero or quite minimal. People don’t even have to drive to do deliveries — they can be walking, on a bike or taking public transport,” Hughes said.

“We think we can help other sharing companies, once we perfect our platform, to enable the right person to help someone at the right time.”

Currently, 3000 people are signed up to Passel and more than 30 stores in Australia are using the service. The company is about to launch in Ireland and The Netherlands and China have expressed interest in it.

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