Potential applications of unmanned ground and aerial vehicles to mitigate challenges of transport and logistics-related critical success factors in the humanitarian supply chain


The present decade has seen an upsurge in the research on the applications of autonomous vehicles and drones to present innovative and sustainable solutions for traditional transportation and logistical challenges. Similarly, in this study, we propose using autonomous cars and drones to resolve conventional logistics and transport challenges faced by international humanitarian organizations (IHOs) during a relief operation. We do so by identifying, shortlisting, and elaborating critical success factors or key transport and logistics challenges from the existing humanitarian literature and present a conceptual model to mitigate these challenges by integrating unmanned ground (UGVs) and aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the humanitarian supply chain. To understand how this novel idea of using UGVs and UAVs could help IHOs, we drafted three research questions, first focusing on the identification of existing challenges, second concentrating on remediation of these challenges, and the third to understand realization timeline for UGVs and UAVs. This lead to the development of a semi-structured, open-ended questionnaire to record the respondents’ perspectives on the existing challenges and their potential solutions. We gathered data form, ten interviewees, with substantial experience in the humanitarian sector from six IHOs stationed in Pakistan and Austria. In light of the feedback for the second research question, we present a conceptual model of integrating UAVs and UGVs in the relief chain. The results of the study indicate that technological advancement in mobility withholds the potential to mitigate the existing challenges faced by IHOs. However, IHOs tend to be reluctant in adapting UGVs compared to UAVs. The results also indicate that the adaptation of these technologies is subject to their technical maturity, and there are no significant differences in opinions found between the IHOs from Pakistan and Austria.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s41180-020-0033-7
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Engineering Systems and Supply Chain Management
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publication ISSN: 2365-6417
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Related URLs: https://ajssr.s ... 1180-020-0033-7 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-02-24
Accepted Date: 2020-01-09
Authors: Azmat, Muhammad (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-8894-3737)
Kummer, Sebastian



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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