Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are popular buzzwords gaining increased attention in the media and research. As I know from own experience, incorporating UAVs in your work leads to highly interesting and complex research questions.
In recent work, natural disasters in which key connections to an area are restricted, e.g., due to inundation, are considered. To supply the area with relief goods, either special equipment such as off-road vehicles is required or, alternatively, goods can be transported by air. A decision support system is developed to schedule transfers of relief goods and route UAVs and off-road vehicles, enabling one to investigate various relief strategies.
Nevertheless, to facilitate a wide-spread use of UAVs, in addition to numerous legal and ethical questions, substantial enhancements in routing and planning procedures are required to guarantee robust operations in the future. Humanitarian logistics certainly provides an interesting field to start testing real-world implementation.
– Fikar, C, Gronalt, M, Hirsch, P (2016) A decision support system for coordinated disaster relief distribution. Expert Systems with Applications 57, 104-116. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eswa.2016.03.039; Kudos: http://goo.gl/wRwrC8