Automatic Guided Vehicles

What Are Automatic Guided Vehicles?

An Automatic guided vehicle – or AGV, for short – is a robot, which follows wires and markers implemented in the floor, uses various magnets, visions and lasers for its mobility and navigation. AGVs are mostly used in industrial warehouses to move raw materials and finished products across factories. Their application expanded in the late 20th century and are now an irreplaceable part of every manufacturing facility in the world.

The first automated guided vehicle was introduced to the market in the 1950s in Illinois, by Barrett Electronics of Northbrook. That version of an AGV was just a type of tow truck, which followed a wire instead of rail in the floor. Following this technology they came up with a more modern type of AGV, that followed UV and invisible markers. Before this improvement, AGVs were simply towed by a chain. The new types instead started being used for mail delivery through offices at the former Sears Tower, nowadays Willis Tower, in Chicago, Illinois.

Nowadays, as technology and computers developed have gotten even more sophisticated, automated guided vehicles are mostly navigated by lasers, and are known as LGV or Laser Guided Vehicles. Today they play an important role in manufacturing and designing new factories due to their safely moving of all necessary goods.

Types Of AGVs

Towing Vehicles, also known as “tugger” AGVs, are the first type of AGVs. Other types include: Unit Load Vehicles, Pallet Trucks, Hybrid Vehicles, Light Loads AGVs, Assembly Line and Fork Trucks.

AGV’s Applications

AGV applications are endless, therefore these vehicles are used in all industries from paper, printing, manufacturing, food, beverage, chemical, pharmaceutical, hospital, automotive to warehouse and theme parks.

AGVs are mostly used for:

  • handling various raw materials;
  • work-in process movement;
  • handling of all types of finished products;
  • pallet handling;
  • container handling;
  • roll handling;
  • trailer loading.