3-D dynamic UAV base station location problem

Cihan Tugrul Cicek, Zuo Jun Max Shen, Hakan Gultekin, Bulent Tavli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We address a dynamic covering location problem of an unmanned aerial vehicle base station (UAV-BS), in which the location sequence of a single UAV-BS in a wireless communication network is determined to satisfy data demand arising from ground users. This problem is especially relevant in the context of smart grid and disaster relief. The vertical movement ability of the UAV-BS and nonconvex covering functions in wireless communication restrict utilizing classical planar covering location approaches. Therefore, we develop new formulations to this emerging problem for a finite time horizon to maximize the total coverage. In particular, we develop a mixed-integer nonlinear programming formulation that is nonconvex in nature and propose a Lagrangean decomposition algorithm (LDA) to solve this formulation. Because of the high complexity of the problem, the LDA is still unable to find good local solutions to large-scale problems. Therefore, we develop a continuum approximation (CA) model and show that CA would be a promising approach in terms of both computational time and solution accuracy. Our numerical study also shows that the CA model can be a remedy to build efficient initial solutions for exact solution algorithms. Summary of Contribution: This paper addresses a facet of mixed integer nonlinear programming formulations. Dynamic facility location problems (DFLPs) arise in a wide range of applications. However, classical DFLPs typically focus on the two-dimensional spaces. Emerging technologies in wireless communication and some other promising application areas, such as smart grids, have brought new location problems that cannot be solved with classical approaches. For practical reasons, many research attempts to solve this new problem, especially by researchers whose primary research area is not OR, have seemed far from analyzing the characteristics of the formulations. Rather, solution-oriented greedy heuristics have been proposed. This paper has two main objectives: (i) to close the gap between practical and theoretical sides of this new problem with the help of current knowledge that OR possesses to solve facility location problems and (ii) to support the findings with an exhaustive computational study to show how these findings can be applied to practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-860
Number of pages22
JournalINFORMS Journal on Computing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Continuum approximation
  • Dynamic location
  • Lagrangean decomposition
  • Nonlinear optimization
  • UAV base station

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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