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Behind the Scenes of the Route Planner

Last Updated: Jan 09, 2012 09:30AM EST
Behind the Viamente Route Planner's intuitive and friendly interface, an amazing complexity is at work.

No straight-line distances: we really consider all the actual driving times that connect all the possible pairs of addresses included in your logistic problems.

We analyze all these - along with a number of other constraints - and in the shortest time we deliver the smartest Route Plan to your analysis and decision.

We know you're staring at a "Please wait..." message while we perform tons of computations, so we have worked hard to minimize your waiting time.

This way, you are also free to modify, optimize everything again and focus on your Business Operations rather than on the planning tool.

How would you find the shortest route to visit a number of addresses on a map?

A brutal approach would be to simply make a list of all the possible routes that connect these addresses and then select the cheapest and most convenient one. 

Yet, it is remarkable to notice that 70 addresses can be visited via as many routes as the googol number (which is itself far bigger than the number of elementary particles of the visible universe!). So, how can we process hundreds of addresses for multiple addresses in just a few seconds? 

Most efficient methods consider only the most reasonable routes: these approaches are called "heuristics" and require a model of intelligence as a selection criterion. Effective are those heuristics which mimic nature: have you ever noticed how a line of ants soon learns how to bypass an obstacle via the shortest path around it?

Also genetics may play a good reference for heuristics: selecting and merging cheap couples of routes frequently happens to generate increasingly cheaper routes for further coupling till the best route is generated.

Yet, to find high quality routes in a short time, we had to develop brand new and proprietary methods. Remember that we wanted to keep only the bits you need in order to speed up operations and suggest high quality Route Plans for the best possible Route Planning and Optimization.

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