Fleet Design Optimization of Package Delivery UAVs Considering Operations
S. Kaneko, and J. R. R. A. Martins
AIAA SciTech Forum, 2022
The conceptual design process of aircraft starts by deciding the representative mission requirements, followed by optimization of design variables to satisfy the given requirements. However, selecting appropriate mission requirements is not an obvious task, particularly when designing the package delivery UAVs because UAVs must accommodate the various combinations of package weight and delivery distances. The complexity increases further when designing a heterogeneous fleet of UAVs that serves a large number of customers. In this work, we tackle this problem by solving the coupled design-operation optimization to find the optimal mission requirements and the optimal UAV designs simultaneously. We formulate this problem as mixed-integer nonlinear optimization and propose a sequential heuristic algorithm to solve the coupled problem. The benchmark study of the proposed algorithm against a non-convex branch-and-cut solver shows that the sequential heuristics are effective. We also demonstrate that the simultaneous UAV design and routing optimization reduces the fleet acquisition cost by more than 10% on average compared to the conventional baseline.