Accepted Papers

A Deep Value-network Based Approach for Multi-Driver Order Dispatching

Xiaocheng Tang, Zhiwei Qin, Fan Zhang, Zhaodong Wang, Zhe Xu, Yintai Ma, Hongtu Zhu and Jieping Ye


Recent works on ride-sharing order dispatching have highlighted the importance of taking into account both the spatial and temporal dynamics in the dispatching process for improving the transportation system efficiency. At the same time, deep reinforcement learning has advanced to the point where it achieves superhuman performance in a number of fields. In this work, we propose a deep reinforcement learning based solution for order dispatching and we conduct large scale online A/B tests on DiDi’s ride-dispatching platform to show that the proposed method achieves significant improvement on both total driver income and user experience related metrics.

In particular, we model the ride dispatching problem as a Semi Markov Decision Process to account for the temporal aspect of the dispatching actions. To improve the stability of the value iteration with nonlinear function approximators like neural networks, we propose Cerebellar Value Networks (CVNet) with a novel distributed state representation layer. We further derive a regularized policy evaluation scheme for CVNet that penalizes large Lipschitz constant of the value network for additional robustness against adversarial perturbation and noises. Finally, we adapt various transfer learning methods to CVNet for increased learning adaptability and efficiency across multiple cities. We conduct extensive offline simulations based on real dispatching data as well as online AB tests through the DiDi’s platform. Results show that CVNet consistently outperforms other recently proposed dispatching methods. We finally show that the performance can be further improved through the efficient use of transfer learning.

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