Order Picking Optimization in Smart Warehouses With Human-Robot Collaboration

Ziyan Zhao, Junzhi Cheng, Jiaqi Liang, Shixin Liu, Meng Chu Zhou, Yusuf Al-Turki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


With the development of robotics and Internet of Things, robot-assisted goods-to-person order picking systems become popular in smart warehouses. Order picking in such systems is a human-robot collaborative process, where robots carry pods to a picking station with human pickers who pick the demanded goods from them to fulfill orders. In it, pod selection, robot scheduling, and manual picking are highly coupled and together influence the efficiency of order picking. Their joint optimization is the key to enhancing operational efficiency but rarely studied in existing work. In order to fill such a research gap and meet high-market demand, this work focuses on a novel human-robot collaborative order picking optimization problem. A mixed integer program is formulated to model it and provide an exact solution method for small-scale instances. To provide large-scale problems with efficient solutions in practical application scenarios, we propose an adaptive large-neighborhood-based tabu search (TS) algorithm. Specifically, an adaptive large neighborhood search (ALNS) method is designed and embedded into a TS algorithm with two tabu mechanisms. Experimental results indicate that the presented algorithm has significant advantages in solving the newly proposed problem. It substantially outperforms: 1) the independent use of ALNS or TS; 2) Gurobi subject to an hour execution time; and 3) several competitive benchmark and newest well-performing algorithms. Its high performance implies its great potential in solving practical order picking optimization problems for Internet of Things-enabled robot-assisted smart warehouses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16314-16324
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Human-robot collaboration
  • order picking optimization
  • robotic mobile fulfillment system (RMFS)
  • smart warehouse


Dive into the research topics of 'Order Picking Optimization in Smart Warehouses With Human-Robot Collaboration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this