Optimal Vehicle Routing and Scheduling with Precedence Constraints and Location Choice

To realize the vision of intelligent transportation systems with fully automated vehicles, there is a need for high-level planning for single vehicles as well as fleets of vehicles. This paper addresses the problem of optimally assigning and scheduling a set of spatially distributed tasks to a fleet of vehicles working together to achieve a high-level goal, in domains where tasks may be related by precedence or synchronization constraints and might have a choice of locations at which they can be performed. Such problems may arise, for example, in disaster preparedness planning, transportation of people, and delivery of supplies. We present a novel mathematical model of the problem and describe how it can be solved optimally in a branch-and-price framework.