A real-time dispatching strategy for shared automated electric vehicles with performance guarantees

Li Li, Theodoros Pantelidis, Joseph Y.J. Chow, Saif Eddin Jabari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Car-sharing has emerged as a competitive technology for urban mobility. Combined with the upward trend in vehicle electrification and the promise of automation, it is expected that urban travel will change in fundamental ways in the near future. Indeed, breakthroughs in battery technology and the incentive programs offered by governments worldwide have resulted in a continued increase in the market share of electric vehicles. Automation frees passengers from having to drive and seek parking, it also offers increased flexibility when selecting pick up locations. These trends and incentives naturally suggest that shared automated electric vehicle (SAEV) systems will displace traditional gasoline-powered, human-driven car-sharing systems worldwide. Real-time vehicle dispatching operations in traditional car-sharing systems is an already computationally challenging scheduling problem. Electrification only exacerbates the computational difficulties as charge level constraints come into play. To overcome this complexity, we employ an online minimum drift plus penalty (MDPP) approach for SAEV systems that (i) does not require a priori knowledge of customer arrival rates to the different parts of the system (i.e. it is practical from a real-world deployment perspective), (ii) ensures the stability of customer waiting times, (iii) ensures that the deviation of dispatch costs from a desirable dispatch cost can be controlled, and (iv) has a computational time-complexity that allows for real-time implementation. Using an agent-based simulator developed for SAEV systems, we test the MDPP approach under two scenarios with real-world calibrated demand and charger distributions: 1) a low-demand scenario with long trips, and 2) a high-demand scenario with short trips. The comparisons with other algorithms under both scenarios show that the proposed online MDPP outperforms all other algorithms in terms of both reduced customer waiting times and vehicle dispatching costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102392
JournalTransportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Automated vehicles
  • Car-sharing
  • Drift-plus-penalty
  • Electric vehicles
  • Lyapunov optimization
  • Vehicle recharging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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