Reducing field work time using fleet routing optimization

Hasan Seyyedhasani, Joseph S. Dvorak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Agricultural producers seek to complete their field work operations as quickly as possible. This is achievable through the simultaneous use of multiple vehicles for an operation. However, path allocation and scheduling then must be considered. Transforming the field work problem into a Vehicle Routing Problem (VRP) and using optimization procedures designed for this problem provides a method of allocating paths. In this work, the accuracy of a VRP representation of field work is confirmed and the ability of this optimization system to reduce field work times is verified. Experiments were conducted using three tractors during a rotary mowing operation. First, the traditional routes used by human drivers were recorded. Then, a VRP representation of this operation was created, and new routes generated by a Tabu Search optimization procedure. Finally, the field operation was repeated using the optimized routes. Using these routes, the time to complete the field work was reduced by 17.3% and the total operating time for all tractors was reduced by 11.5%. The predictions by the VRP representation for completion time and total time were both within 2% of the actual times recorded when the tractors followed the computer-generated routes in the field. These reductions illustrated the ability of the route optimization procedure to improve effective field efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBiosystems Engineering
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research work was supported in part by a grant from the Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation as per Grant Agreement #KSEF-148-502-16-380 with the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. The authors also would like to acknowledge the cooperation of the farm management and employees of the University of Kentucky's C. Oran Little Research Center who adjusted their standard field management procedures to support the collection of the data necessary to complete this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 IAgrE


  • Agricultural operation
  • Computer model
  • Field completion time
  • Optimized routing
  • Path planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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