Route Optimization Algorithm Looks To Honey Bees For Inspiration
A startup is using advanced biomimicry to find optimal delivery routes and shrink logistics costs
Routific is a route optimization cloud software that lets logistics company cut up to 40 percent off their gas and time expenditure. Using a smarter way to find the best routes, it’s harnessing the power of smart software for small logistic operations.
Big logistics companies (think Fedex) have expensive but powerful programs that churn out money-saving routes for their drivers. It’s a very complex process that many logistic companies worldwide still do manually (with rulers and pen in hand). Routific is trying to give smaller companies who can’t otherwise afford these expensive solutions a chance.
The problem is that finding routes isn’t easy, even for computers. Marc Kuo, founder and CEO of Routific told Fastcoexist that calculating 57 stops on a route means ploughing through quattuorvigintillion possible options. This will take days to months for a computer to do.
To build something far less resource-hungry, Marc Kuo and his team looked at bees for inspiration. Beehives send scouts from the hive, followed by repeated dancing that directs bees to the most harvest-rich areas. This goes on for a while, letting bees achieve greater efficiency in their work. This self-optimizing movement inspired Routific’s core process.
The huge pile of routes turn into ‘areas’—efficient areas get more computational power while lesser areas are eventually pushed out. This happens over and over until a single route stands out as the best one. Many factors are counted in, including historical traffic data. While it still takes Routific a minute or two to calculate a route, it’s still an amazing efficiency leap.
In case studies, the impact of Routific shines through. For example, a farm-to-table delivery service save $3,200 a month just by planning their delivery routes on the software. A charity operation, Spring Hope Drive, who collected food from homes was able to save $1,640 in a day just by using Routific.