Google Research

Minimizing Latency in Online Ride and Delivery Services

WWW 2018 (2018)

Abstract

Motivated by the popularity of online ride services such as Uber, Lyft, and Ola, we study natural variants of classical multi-vehicle minimum latency problems where the objective is to route a set of vehicles located at depots to serve request located on a metric space so as to minimize the total latency. In this paper, we consider point-to-point requests that come with source-destination pairs and release-time constraints that restrict when each request can be served. The point-to-point requests and release-time constraints model taxi rides and deliveries. For all the variants considered, we show constant-factor approximation algorithms based on a linear programming framework. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first set of results for the aforementioned variants of the minimum latency problems. Furthermore, we provide an empirical study of heuristics based on our theoretical algorithms on a real data set of taxi rides.

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