I did a double-take when I read this article yesterday.
Solving route planning is among the most important problems in the transportation industry. The dilemma is often framed in context of the so-called traveling salesman problem: What is the fastest way for a salesman to make multiple stops in multiple cities?
. . .
Routific, like many companies, has turned to the natural world for solutions. Driving its proprietary software is a popular algorithm based on the famous foraging behavior of honeybees, in which returning bees perform a waggle dance in front of other bees in the hive to indicate where a promising flower patch resides. As more bees flock to that particular spot, Kuo explained, they start branching out to other locations, ultimately optimizing a route for the entire colony.
A well-known method, the bee algorithm alone isn’t sufficient for real-world application, Kuo said, and Routific’s proprietary software is an evolution of that heuristic.
. . .
Offering up a case study, Kuo said a customer with 20 trucks in California, delivering 2,500 packages a day, was able to reduce its fleet by five trucks and saved $200,000 annually simply by optimizing the routes.
There’s more at the link.
Clearly, I have a warped mind. I can’t help imagining a delivery truck coming back to the depot or warehouse, then (as soon as its driver has entered the building) doing a waggle dance in front of the other trucks, to tell them which way to go next!
This could cause complications. For example, would a Nissan or Toyota truck do the waggle dance in interpretive Japanese steps (or turns)? And would a GM or Ford truck understand it? Inquiring minds want to know!