Google Research

The Pit Stop Problem: How to Plan Your Next Road Trip



Many online trip planning and navigation software need to routinely solve the problem of deciding where to take stops during a journey for various services such as refueling (or EV charging), rest stops, food, etc. The goal is to minimize the overhead of these stops while ensuring that the traveller is not starved of any essential resource (such as fuel, rest, or food) during the journey. In this paper, we formally model this problem and call it the {\em pit stop} problem. We design algorithms for this problem under various settings: single vs multiple types of stops, and offline vs online optimization (i.e., in advance of or during the trip). Our algorithms achieve provable guarantees in terms of approximating the optimal solution. We then extensively evaluate our algorithms on real world data and demonstrate that they significantly outperform baseline solutions.

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