AdaPool: A Diurnal-Adaptive Fleet Management Framework using Model-Free Deep Reinforcement Learning and Change Point Detection

Marina Haliem, Vaneet Aggarwal, Bharat Bhargava

This paper introduces an adaptive model-free deep reinforcement approach that can recognize and adapt to the diurnal patterns in the ride-sharing environment with car-pooling. Deep Reinforcement Learning (RL) suffers from catastrophic forgetting due to being agnostic to the timescale of changes in the distribution of experiences. Although RL algorithms are guaranteed to converge to optimal policies in Markov decision processes (MDPs), this only holds in the presence of static environments. However, this assumption is very restrictive. In many real-world problems like ride-sharing, traffic control, etc., we are dealing with highly dynamic environments, where RL methods yield only sub-optimal decisions. To mitigate this problem in highly dynamic environments, we (1) adopt an online Dirichlet change point detection (ODCP) algorithm to detect the changes in the distribution of experiences, (2) develop a Deep Q Network (DQN) agent that is capable of recognizing diurnal patterns and making informed dispatching decisions according to the changes in the underlying environment. Rather than fixing patterns by time of week, the proposed approach automatically detects that the MDP has changed, and uses the results of the new model. In addition to the adaptation logic in dispatching, this paper also proposes a dynamic, demand-aware vehicle-passenger matching and route planning framework that dynamically generates optimal routes for each vehicle based on online demand, vehicle capacities, and locations. Evaluation on New York City Taxi public dataset shows the effectiveness of our approach in improving the fleet utilization, where less than 50% of the fleet are utilized to serve the demand of up to 90% of the requests, while maximizing profits and minimizing idle times.

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