Simple A-B routing has become a free web service most consumers now take for granted as we route ourselves to new places with the minimum of fuss. We can leisurely review aerial imagery and opening times in advance prior to visiting new towns and shops.
For businesses, the routing problems are a lot more sophisticated and we may speak of ‘one to many’ and ‘many to many optimisations’ or solving the travelling salesman problem or vehicle routing problem.
HERE Routing APIs
The HERE Location Services platform has been building a portfolio of advanced routing tools for some time, and its waypoint sequencer has been very popular with customers looking to optimise multi-drop routes. The Routing Matrix and Large-Scale Matrix routing services are also significantly powerful tools on the platform. For planners looking to schedule multi-drop vehicles appropriately based on their fleets, the APIs were a good step towards creating the optimised itineraries.
Tour Planning API
Now the final piece of the jigsaw is arriving in the form of the Tour Planning API. It’s designed to be a single tool for inputting many drivers and many destinations and receiving a full optimised multi-vehicle tour as the result, thus solving the vehicle routing problem and its variants.
In general, Tour Planning supports two use cases:
- Job planning: plans the tours of a fleet, using the powerful HERE services while taking into account several constraints about jobs and vehicles.
- Re-planning: re-plans a schedule, taking into consideration selected constraints.
In order to produce a realistic tour plan that stands up to the rigours of reality, there are powerful features built in that consider delivery and pickup time windows, multiple depots alongside a route, and a mixed fleet with varying capabilities.