Intelligent autonomous vehicles in digital supply chains: From conceptualisation, to simulation modelling, to real-world operations
Business Process Management Journal
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Tsolakis, N., Bechtsis, D., & Srai, J. (2019). Intelligent autonomous vehicles in digital supply chains: From conceptualisation, to simulation modelling, to real-world operations. Business Process Management Journal, 25 (3), 414-437. https://doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-11-2017-0330
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold: (i) to discuss key challenges associated to the use of either simulation or real-world application of Intelligent Autonomous Vehicles (IAVs) in supply network operations, and (ii) to provide a theoretical and empirical evidence-based methodological framework that supports the integrated application of conceptualisation, simulation, emulation and physical application of IAVs for the effective design of digital supply networks. Design/Methodology/Approach: Firstly, this study performs a critical review of the extant literature to identify major benefits and shortcomings related to the use of either simulation modelling or real-word application of physical IAVs. Secondly, commercial and bespoke software applications, along with a 3D validation and verification emulation tool, are developed to evaluate an IAV’s operations in a conceptual warehouse. Thirdly, a commercial depth-sensor is used as a testbed in a physical setting. Findings: The results demonstrate that conceptual and simulation modelling should be initially used to explore alternative supply chain operations in terms of ideal performance while emulation tools and real-world IAV testbeds are eminent in validating preferred digital supply chain design options. Practical implications: The study provides bespoke simulation modelling and emulation tools that can be useful for supply chain practitioners in effectively designing network operations. Originality/value: This work contributes in the Operations Management field by providing both a multi-stage methodological framework and a practical ‘toolbox’ for the proactive assessment and incorporation of IAVs in supply network operations.
This research has received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Reference No. EP/K02888X/1, Project Title: “Engineering Driven Sustainable Supply Networks - A UK/India Collaborative Study”, and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) Grant No. TS/L006529/1, Project Title: “ReMediES – Reconfiguring Medicines End-to-End Supply”.
Birmingham City Council (35708-233529)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-11-2017-0330
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/278220