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If we’re willing to accept that we don’t need the route between all of the landmarks, then we can turn to smarter techniques such as genetic algorithms to find a solution that’s good enough for our purposes. If you’re able to drive through Canada without issue, then take the direct route through Canada instead.
Instead of exhaustively looking at every possible solution, genetic algorithms start with a handful of random solutions and continually tinkers with these solutions — always trying something slightly different from the current solutions and keeping the best ones — until they can’t find a better solution any more. Note: There’s an extra stop in Cleveland to force the route between Vermont and Michigan to stay in the U. Assuming no traffic, this road trip will take about 224 hours (9.33 days) of driving in total, so it’s truly an epic undertaking that will take at least 2-3 months to complete. on this trip, and as an added bonus, you won’t spend too long driving through the endless corn fields of Nebraska.
I hope this article convinced you that machine learning can play a crucial role in that planning phase and save you a ton of time along the way.
Of course, it may not be practical for you to take a road trip of epic proportions like the ones described here.
But really, this algorithm works just as well when you’re planning a smaller trip within your state as when you’re planning a larger trip spanning the entire world.
All the algorithm needs are the distances travelled between every stop so it can try to compute the optimal route.
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Except this time, we needed to look up 2,450 directions to get the “true” distance between all 50 landmarks — a monumental task if we had to do it by hand.I’ve included a visualization of a genetic algorithm solving a similar routing problem below. The best part is that this road trip is designed so that you can start anywhere on the route as long as you follow it from then on. Here’s the Google Maps of the route:       (Note that Google maps itself only allows 10 waypoints to be routed at a time, hence why there’s multiple Maps links.) Here’s the full list of landmarks in order: If you’re more of a city slicker, the road trip above may not look very appealing to you because it involves spending a lot of time outdoors. If you’re able to drive through Canada without issue, then take the direct route through Canada instead.After less than a minute, the genetic algorithm reached a near-perfect solution that makes a complete trip around the U. But worry not, for I created a second road trip just for you! Note: Again, there’s an extra stop in Cleveland to force the route between New Hampshire and Michigan to stay in the U. But really, Cleveland is a nice city to stop in (ranked #53 on Trip Advisor).Thankfully, the Google Maps API makes this information freely available, so all it took was a short Python script to calculate the distance and time driven for all 2,450 routes between the 50 landmarks.Now with the 2,450 landmark-landmark distances, our next step was to approach the task as a traveling salesman problem: We needed to order the list of landmarks such that the total distance traveled between them is as small as possible if we visited them in order.