The Application of Drones in City Logistics Concepts
With the rise of city logistics (CL) problems in the last three decades, various methods, approaches, solutions, and initiatives were analyzed and proposed for making logistics in urban areas more sustainable. The most analyzed and promising solutions are those that take into account cooperation among logistics providers and consolidation of the flow of goods. Furthermore, technological innovations enable the implementation of modern vehicles/equipment in order to make CL solutions sustainable. For several years, drone-based delivery has attracted lots of attention in scientific research, but there is a serious gap in the literature regarding the application of drones in CL concepts. The goal of this paper is to analyze four CL concepts that differ in consolidation type, transformation degree of flow of goods (direct and indirect, multi-echelon flows), and the role of drones. Two of the analyzed concepts are novel, which is the main contribution of the paper. The performances of the analyzed concepts are compared to the performances of the traditional delivery model – using only trucks without prior flow consolidation. The results indicate that CL concepts which combine different consolidation models and drones in the last phase of the delivery could stand out as a sustainable CL solution.
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