Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are self-driving material handling robots that can transport materials and goods without human intervention. AGVs follow predefined routes using navigation technologies such as laser guidance, vision systems, magnetic guidance, or natural feature navigation. They are increasingly being adopted to optimize material flows and replace manual material handling methods in manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and distribution centers.
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Automated Guided Vehicles. In this article, we will delve into the world of AGVs and provide you with all the information you need to gain a solid understanding of these material handling mobile robots. From their functionality and benefits to their applications in various industries, here’s a list of what we’ll cover:
- How do AGVs work? And what can they do for you?
- History of AGVs
- Types of Automated Guided Vehicle Applications
- Benefits and Advantages
- Limitations and Disadvantages
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
- Navigation Technologies
- Driving and Steering Control
- Components and Subsystems
- Battery Charging Systems and Battery Technology
- Fleet Management Software
- System Integration
- Use Cases
- AGV-Human Collaboration
- Safety Standards and Regulations
- AGV Manufacturers
- Market Growth
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of AGVs and how they are revolutionizing material handling processes in warehouses and factories everywhere and across all industries.
How do AGVs work? And what can they do for you?
Automated Guided Vehicles are self-driving robots that use sensors and navigation software to transport materials without human assistance. But what can they actually do?
AGVs optimize workflows by automating repetitive material handling tasks. Their continuous, reliable operation eliminates bottlenecks and reduces manual labor needs. AGVs can adeptly transport palletized loads, containers, carts, and more between locations in a facility.
Specialized AGVs like robotic forklifts and tuggers can lift, stack, and retrieve inventory from racking and deliver it precisely when and where needed. AGVs for assembly lines replenish parts to keep production humming.
Smart navigation allows AGVs to adapt to changing floor plans. Their advanced sensors make them exceptionally safe, detecting and avoiding obstacles in busy dynamic environments.
By orchestrating AGVs with warehouse management and automation control systems, goods flows can be optimized across facilities. Collaboration with picking robots and humans is streamlining order fulfillment.
Whether transporting rolls, unloading trucks, or picking parts – if materials need to move, AGVs can likely automate it. Their capabilities and applications continue to grow. AGVs are transforming intralogistics by making material flow flexible, reliable, and efficient.
History of AGVs
The origins of automated guided vehicles can be traced back to the 1954 when the first driverless towing machine called the “Guide-O-Matic” was created by Arthur “MAC” Barrett and Barrett Electronics. This early AGV followed a wire installed overhead to navigate. In the 1970s and 1980s, AGVs became more commonly used in manufacturing facilities. Early applications were focused on towing trains of carts and transporting heavy materials over long distances.
Soon after the first Guide-O-Matic the overhead guide wire was instead placed in the floor for convenience. As technology advanced, AGVs incorporated new navigation methods such as following magnetic tape, lasers, and vision systems. This allowed AGVs to take on more complex material handling tasks like transporting pallets, loading trailers, and storing and retrieving inventory from racks. In the 2000s, autonomous mobile robots emerged offering more flexibility through enhanced sensing and navigation capabilities. Amazon’s acquisition of Kiva Systems in 2012 brought wider attention to warehouse automation using smaller mobile robots. Today, AGVs continue to evolve with innovations in perception, localization, mapping, and fleet management software.
Types of Automated Guided Vehicle Applications
There are many types of AGVs used in a variety of applications. Here is a selection of the most common types of AGVs and the transportation tasks and materials they can handle.
Manual Loading AGVs
These are the most basic form of AGV, performing just the automated moving task, but without any ability to pickup, receive or deliver a load on their own. Instead they drive to their destination and let a human operator take or place the load on top of the AGV.
Automated Guided Carts (AGCs)
A variation of Manual Loading, AGCs are small load carrier AGVs used for material handling tasks involving totes, bins, or light loads. AGCs are ideal for transporting items between workstations, delivering parts, and handling light assembly components.
These AGVs are able to drive underneath their load and lift it up by raising a lifting plate on top of the AGV. They can lift and transport Racks and Carts storing totes, bins or other goods. Some lifting AGVs have the ability to rotate the robot without rotating the lifting plate or the load. This enables the robot to change direction while keeping the orientation of the load it is carrying. This relative rotation capability is useful in narrow spaces and often seen in Goods-to-Person AGVs.
Pallet Lifting AGVs
A variation of the Lifting AGV where the mobile robot drives underneath and lifts a pallet from a supporting structure on the ground. Only the pallet is transported while the support structure remains in place. Unlike a forklift AGV, the pallet lifting AGV requires the pallet to be raised from the floor and placed on the specially designed support structure in order for the AGV to transport it.
Automated Guided Forklift AGFs
AGFs are automated forklift AGVs that can autonomously lift and transport pallets without a driver. They combine the functions of traditional lift trucks with AGV capabilities. Forklift AGVs are widely used for pallet transport, loading and unloading trailers, automated Very narrow aisle (VNA) storage systems, and moving inventory.
Dollies Lifting AGVs
Dollies lifting AGVs integrate jacks or powered lifts to raise and transport loaded dollies, carts, and wheeled platforms. Unlike the standard lifting AGV the Dollies Lifting AGV does not go underneath the load but rather inserts a lifting jack under the load. This enables the Dollies Lifting AGV to lift and transport wheeled dollies and carts that have lower ground clearance than what can be moved with a standard lifting AGV.
Also known as tow tractors, tugger AGVs can pull multiple unpowered carts or trailers containing goods. This helps efficiently move loads between locations over long travel distances. Tugger AGVs are commonly seen performing milk-runs in warehouses and manufacturing.
Cart Pulling (Anchoring) AGVs
Cart pulling AGVs specialize in moving wheeled carts and trolleys loaded with goods. They tunnel underneath the cart and then anchor themselves by inserting one or more pins into the cart. Compared to Tugger AGVs Cart Anchoring AGVs have better maneuverability and smaller turning radius, but are limited to transporting only one cart at a time.
Conveyor AGVs have integrated roller or belt conveyors to facilitate transporting loads on and off the deck. They excel at extending fixed conveyor systems with a more flexible transport solution and providing intermediate accumulation buffering. They are also a great option for automatic line feeding and fully automated material flows in a manufacturing environment.
Unit Load AGVs
A variation of conveyor AGV, the Unit load AGVs are designed to carry a single unit load, typically a tote or pallet. They have decks optimized for unit load handling and can interface with conveyors, palletizers, packaging stations, and other equipment.
Tilt Tray AGVs
A cousin of the Conveyor AGV this mobile robot is often seen in automated parcel sorting systems. The tilt tray enables the robot to dump its load into a container or chute. While it can automatically deliver its load it requires a human operator or another automated system such as a robotic arm to first place the load on top of the tilt tray.
Box Picker AGVs
Box picker AGVs are equipped with robotic arms and grippers specialized for case picking. They can pick boxes directly from storage racks to fill orders.
Heavy Roll AGVs
Heavy roll AGVs are designed for handling large heavy rolls like paper, textiles, plastic, and metal coils. They integrate powered roll supports and clamping mechanisms.
Large Specialized Load AGVs
These heavy duty AGVs are designed to carry very long, tall, or heavy payloads that exceed standard AGV capabilities.
Assembly Line AGVs
These robots have special fixtures on top to carry Work-in-Progress (WIP) production parts and components from workstation to workstation as the pieces on top are being treated and assembled. Compared to a traditional assembly line, the assembly line AGVs offer more flexibility and the ability to design a unique process workflow at the individual SKU level.
Platform AGVs provide an open, flat deck space for arbitrary top modules and custom structures to be mounted. This allows creating specialty AGV configurations.
Mobile Manipulator AGVs
Mobile manipulator AGVs integrate robotic arms and grippers on an AGV base. This allows them to handle more complex pick and place tasks like unloading pallets, packaging finished products, or machine tending.
Hospital AGVs automate internal logistics in healthcare facilities. They are used for tasks like transporting patient meals, medical records, sterile supplies, pharmaceuticals, linens, and waste. Hospital AGVs help improve workflows and free up staff.
Large outdoor AGVs equipped with features to handle all weather and outdoor environment conditions, are designed to transport shipping containers and heavy loads outdoors in ports, distribution yards, and intermodal facilities.
Emerging AGV Applications
As the technology advances, AGVs are moving beyond traditional industrial uses into new applications like agriculture, construction, food and parcel delivery, hotel room service, and office environments. Their uses will continue to expand as capabilities improve. Mobile Robots are also increasingly being deployed for non-material handling applications such as security surveillance, automated inventory scanning and even as tele-operated remote workers.
Benefits and Advantages
Automated guided vehicles offer significant benefits over manual material transport:
By automating repetitive material transport tasks, AGVs can optimize workflow efficiency and throughput. Their continuous operation eliminates downtime, bottlenecks, and lags in material replenishment.
AGVs incorporate collision avoidance, obstacle detection, and emergency stop features that make them safer than manually operated equipment. This helps reduce workplace accidents and injuries. Their operation also reduces fatigue risks and ergonomic strains on workers.
Compared to conveyor systems, AGVs occupy less floorspace as they do not require fixed pathways. Their flexibility also allows facilities to optimize space usage and storage density.
Flexibility and Adaptability
AGVs offer greater flexibility compared to fixed automation. Their routes and programs can be easily adjusted as needs change. Additional AGVs can also be deployed to meet changing demands.
While the upfront investment in AGVs is significant, over the long term they can reduce operating costs by decreasing material handling labor expenses. Efficiencies gained also lead to savings in time and wastes.
Limitations and Disadvantages
While AGVs present many advantages, they also come with some limitations:
High upfront costs
AGVs have large initial capital costs for purchase, installation, and integration.
Unlike AMRs, AGVs follow fixed paths and lack real-time path planning capabilities. This limits their ability to dynamically respond to changes.
AGVs may still struggle with identifying complex, shifting, or crowded environments.
Connecting and synchronizing AGVs with warehouse software and controls can involve substantial integration work.
Lack of judgment
Unlike humans, AGVs cannot exercise judgment to identify and handle exceptions. This makes unpredictable situations more difficult.
Like other automation, AGVs face potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could disrupt operations.
The upfront costs of an AGV can range from $30,000 to over $200,000 depending on the vehicles, payload capacities, and navigation systems required. However, AGVs can provide significant long-term returns on investment through both quantitative and qualitative benefits.
One major financial benefit is reduced labor expenses. By automating material transport previously done manually, AGVs eliminate the ongoing costs of wages, benefits, training and labor overhead. This cost reduction accumulates over years of operation.
Increased productivity is another benefit. AGVs can operate 24/7, multiplying output compared to human work shifts. Their continuous optimized routing also boosts throughput. Enhanced inventory accuracy and material flows translate into productivity gains.
Improved safety and lower risk is a key AGV advantage. Automated forklifts avoid the errors and accidents associated with manual material handling. This lessens injuries, damage, and associated workers compensation costs.
Reduced product loss is another tangible benefit. Forklift mishandling is a top source of pallet and material damage. AGVs are far less prone to these errors, minimizing costly product loss.
There are also intangible benefits like improved work quality, flexibility, and scalability. While difficult to quantify, these benefits nonetheless enhance operations and ROI.
Positive ROI depends heavily on labor costs, number of shifts, and transport distances. Facilities with multiple shifts and high labor costs benefit most. But even smaller operations can realize productivity and safety gains with AGVs tailored to their needs.
While automated guided vehicles involve considerable initial investments, they can provide a significant return on investment from both tangible and intangible benefits.
Overall, the cost-benefit analysis favors AGVs for many applications, both immediate and long-term savings often outweigh the initial AGV investments.
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)
Autonomous mobile robots are more advanced than traditional automated guided vehicles. In addition to materials transport, AMRs can often dynamically navigate, avoid obstacles, integrate with automation, and perform complex tasks. AMRs tend to utilize sophisticated vision, LiDAR, and natural feature navigation methods instead of relying on fixed infrastructure for guidance. Unlike AGVs, AMRs are not following a predetermined guidepath, instead they have path planning algorithms that can plan the robots path to its destination based on a live view of the obstacles and available space in its environment. Their greater autonomy and perceptions capabilities allow AMRs to be deployed more quickly and adapt to changing environments. However, these advanced technologies also make them more complex and costly than typical AGVs.
There are several navigation technologies available for guiding AGVs:
The original technology that was first used to create a guide paths for automated vehicles. Seldomly used today due to the cost and complexity of installing the wires in the floor and the lack of flexibility to change the paths once installed.
Magnetic Line Following
This economical method involves AGVs following magnetic tape placed along the floor. The AGVs detect the magnetic signal from the tape to navigate their route. However, route changes can require laying new tape.
Laser Guided Vehicle (LGV)
LGVs use targets placed throughout the facility to triangulate their position using rotating laser transmitters and sensors (LiDARs). This method provides high levels of accuracy but requires installation of reflector targets.
These systems use RFID transponders, which are embedded into the floor of the facility, to verify that the AGV is on the proper course. The AGV is equipped with a reader that can detect the signals from the transponders and use this information to determine its location and orientation within the facility.
Inertial navigation uses onboard sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes to estimate the AGV’s orientation and location when moving. It provides autonomy but positioning accuracy can drift over time.
Wheel Odometry is a method that relies on wheel encoders to measure the amount of rotation of the vehicle’s wheels. These measurements are then used in conjunction with the vehicle’s motion model to estimate its current location with respect to a global reference coordinate system. However, this method has some limitations and is mostly used in conjunction with other localization techniques.
Visual Odometry, on the other hand, estimates the vehicle’s motion by analyzing a sequence of camera images. This technique offers a natural complement to Wheel Odometry as it is insensitive to motor mechanics, produces a full 6DOF motion estimate, and has lower drift rates than all but the most expensive IMUs. Visual Odometry can be performed using either monocular or stereo vision systems and can use feature matching/tracking or optical flow techniques.
This method involves placing QR codes at specific locations on the floor or walls of the facility. The mobile robot scans the QR codes and compares the value of the individual code to a stored map of the location of every QR code.
Natural Feature Navigation (SLAM)
Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) navigation also known as natural feature navigation allows AGVs to self-navigate by mapping surroundings using sensors like LiDAR and localizing against features detected in the map. No infrastructure changes are required but complex programming is needed.
Vision Guidance (VSLAM)
Vision-guided AGVs use cameras along with reference points to visually determine routes and position. No facility alterations are needed but poor visibility conditions can impair performance.
Multiple localization and navigation technologies can be combined in a single AGV to improve robustness and reliability.
Driving and Steering Control
There are two main types of steering control used for navigating AGVs:
Differential Speed Steering
With differential speed control, each of the AGV’s drive wheels can be individually powered and rotated at different speeds. By varying the relative speed of each side, the AGV can turn and maneuver in tight spaces much like a tank.
Steered Wheel Control
In steered wheel systems, the orientation of wheels can be actively adjusted to steer the AGV. This provides greater directional control similar to a conventional steering system. It allows for smoother and more stable movement.
It is possible to use a combination of both control mechanisms to achieve optimal maneuverability.
Wheel Configuration and Maneuverability
The four main types of wheels seen in AGVs are: Non-Powered Castor Wheels, Drive Wheels, Steerable Drive Wheels and Mecanum Drive Wheels.
Many different wheel configurations are possible, which provide different tradeoffs in cost and maneuverability.
For instance one of the cheapest configurations is a single steerable drive wheel with the rest of the wheels being cheaper castor wheels. While economical this configuration has the largest turning radius and as such requires more space for the robot to maneuver.
A popular option is to use two non-steerable driving wheels and two or four swiveling castor wheels. This configuration allows the robot to rotate around its own axis, giving it a turning radius of zero, but still requiring a space equal to the circumference of the robot footprint in order to make a turn.
The highest possible maneuverability is found in omnidirectional driving AGVs. These robots are able to change direction without rotating or needing to make a turn. As such they can perform a lateral sideways crabbing movement into a narrow space and execute complex maneuvers.
Omnidirectional driving can be achieved with either the use of Mecanum drive wheels or two or more steerable drive wheels.
Components and Subsystems
Automated guided vehicles are complex machines composed of many integrated subsystems:
As described earlier, AGVs use various navigation technologies to guide their movement like magnets, lasers, inertial sensors, and vision cameras.
Safety systems such as LiDAR laser scanners, sonar, infrared sensors, ultrasonic sensors, cameras, and bumpers detect obstacles. They trigger emergency braking, controlled stopping or evasive maneuvers to prevent collisions. The safety system is most often controlled by a Safety PLC that is entirely independent of the main control system and comes with a high performance level rating. Warning lights and alarms are also common elements of an AGV safety solution.
The central control system coordinates all AGV functions and actuators based on internal programming and external commands. It processes sensor inputs and issues appropriate vehicle driving and steering commands.
The motion planning system includes drive components like motors, wheels, brakes, and steering mechanisms that physically move and maneuver the AGV.
Power systems provide the electrical energy to drive AGV movements and components. Batteries are typically used, but some AGVs employ alternate power supply methods.
User Interface Systems
User interface systems with screens, buttons, and indicators facilitate monitoring the AGV and providing operational commands.
Connectivity systems allow AGVs to exchange data and integrate with other warehouse and enterprise systems through wireless WiFi or 4G/5G networking. Robot connectivity options can also include bluetooth and wired connections to modules on top of the AGV.
Battery Charging Systems and Battery Technology
Keeping AGVs powered is critical for sustained, reliable operation. There are a few different automatic charging strategies that can be deployed with different impacts on the overall performance of the AGV system.
Opportunity charging involves frequent, short duration charging whenever the AGV is idle. This maintains battery levels with minimal impact on productivity.
Fast charging using high capacity connections allows the AGV battery to be substantially recharged in a short period when needed.
With manual or automated battery swap systems, discharged batteries are exchanged for fully charged batteries. This allows the vehicle to remain productive with minimal downtime.
Common battery technologies used in AGVs include lithium-ion, lead-acid, and alternative chemistries. Battery innovations continue to improve AGV performance and runtime.
Fleet Management Software
When multiple AGVs are deployed across an operations area, this represents an automated guided vehicle fleet system. These systems require additional management software and controls beyond what is onboard each individual AGV.
Fleet management software coordinates routing, traffic, assignments, and optimization for the entire AGV fleet. It can also integrate with order management systems.
Task Scheduling and Assignment
Optimization algorithms improve scheduling and path planning to maximize AGV utilization and throughput. They help ensure AGVs support production needs while avoiding congestion. They decide which member of the AGV fleet receives a specific task and they control when an AGV is sent to charge.
AGV Traffic Control Systems
Traffic control systems perform route optimization and manage AGV movements to avoid collisions and gridlock when multiple vehicles are operating in shared spaces. This includes zoning, routing, and collision avoidance. This system can also be integrated with sensors, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other software systems to enable the smooth operation of AGVs together with non-AGV traffic.
Connecting AGV systems with existing warehouse management systems (WMS), warehouse control systems (WCS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and manufacturing execution systems (MES) allows data exchange and coordinated execution between AGVs and other operations software. This integration is key to optimizing overall warehouse workflows.
AGV System Peripherals
Various peripherals and devices can augment AGV systems:
- Operator interface terminals for monitoring and control.
- Operator call buttons to launch specific tasks.
- Environmental sensors supporting traffic management or triggering pickup of a load.
- Charging stations to automate AGV battery replenishment.
- Communication access points to link AGVs with networks.
- Signaling devices like lights and alarms to indicate AGV presence.
- Automatic Door Control to let the AGV pass through a doorway.
- Elevator integration to let the AGV move across different floors.
- Integration with stationary robot arms or other production equipment to facilitate automatic loading and unloading of the AGV.
While standardized AGVs are suitable for many applications, custom-engineered AGVs can also be developed:
AGVs are custom-designed based on parameters like load requirements, site layout, integration needs, and operating environment.
Reasons to Customize an AGV
If an application has specialized needs outside typical AGV capabilities, customization may be warranted. Unique loads, space constraints, or peripherals can justify AGV customization.
Reasons Not to Customize
For many common AGV applications, standardized models sufficiently meet requirements. The cost premium and lead times associated with custom work may not have adequate payoff. Increased maintenance costs should also be considered.
Automated guided vehicles are being adopted across various industries to optimize material flows and transform intralogistics operations. Their applications span manufacturing, warehousing, distribution centers, and beyond. Below we examine some common AGV use cases organized by major categories:
Warehouse Use Cases
Warehouse automation with AGVs helps drive efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility in order fulfillment and inventory management processes. Key use cases include:
Ecommerce order fulfillment
AGVs automate picking, sorting, packing, and transporting online orders. Strategies like batch picking, zone picking, goods-to-person (G2P), and wave picking are used to optimize workflows.
Compact, automated warehouses located near customers utilize AGVs to swiftly fulfill online orders.
AGVs efficiently transport returned items for sorting, restocking, and processing.
AGVs replenish pick zones and production lines with inventory ensuring constant availability.
Automated storage and retrieval
AGVs integrated with automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) optimize pallet, case, and tote movements.
AGVs integrated with dimensioning systems facilitate goods weighing and sizing for better warehouse space optimization.
Industrial Use Cases
AGVs optimize material flows through production zones, connect equipment, and automate repetitive transport:
AGVs deliver parts and components to production lines just-in-time to avoid shortages.
Work cell to work cell
AGVs move parts and components between different cells and process steps.
AGVs mimic fixed conveyors dynamically moving materials between points as programmed.
Large load transport
Custom AGVs safely handle heavy, bulky, or oversized items.
AGVs efficiently move samples to test areas.
General Material Handling
AGVs can help automate a wide range of general material transport tasks:
Automatic Pallet handling
AGVs can move, sometimes stack, and even perform truck loading and unloading of pallets, improving safety and efficiency.
AGVs tug carts and dollies between locations eliminating manual labor.
AGVs can navigate between buildings transferring materials.
As capabilities advance, AGVs are taking on more warehouse, manufacturing, and logistics roles – optimizing processes and creating smarter, more flexible operations through autonomous material movement.
With growing use of AGVs in workplaces, safe and efficient collaboration between humans and automation is crucial:
Training programs prepare staff to work near AGVs. Education focuses on AGV capabilities, movements, interaction zones, restricted areas, hazard zones and safety policies.
Blending AGV and human roles takes advantage of automation benefits while retaining human skills where needed. Tasks are allocated based on capabilities.
Optimizing workflows to effectively integrate automation often requires some process redesign. This may involve reconsidering layouts, procedures, and interfaces.
Safety Standards and Regulations
Various standards help ensure AGV safety:
This ISO standard covers AGV safety across vehicle design, system requirements, and installation factors. Mandatory risk assessment procedures are included.
The ISO 3691-4 standard is the foundation for AGVs to comply with European CE regulations.
This key standard in the United States provides safety requirements related to AGV design, risk assessment, system validation, and personnel training.
Other standards like ANSI R15.08 also help define AGV-related safety specifications. Additionally, general machine safety standards and robot safety standards often apply to AGV systems. Thorough risk assessment and mitigation is critical when implementing AGVs in work zones with people.
The market for AGVs is large with a wide range of manufacturers to chose from. Here is a list of the ones you will find in our directory:
Active Space Automation, AgileX, AGV R, AGVs, Aichikikai Techno System, Aijiwei, Aiten, America In Motion, Axter Automation, Bastian Solutions, Carrybots, Casun, CEIT, Comau, Creform, CSG Huaxiao, Daifuku, Daum + Partner (dpm Maschinenbau), Dematic, DS Automotion, DTA, Eckhart, Elettric 80, EMobiliti, Esatroll, FlexQube, Fred AGV, FusionSystems, GEBHARDT Intralogistics Group, Gen-song, Gessbot, Götting, Grenzebach, Hangfa Hydralic Engineering, HiCTRL, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, IBG Automation, INDEVA Group, Inogec, iRob AGV, Jaten, JBT, JingYuan, Jungheinrich, K. Hartwall, KUMATECH, Liftians, Linbir, Linde Material Handling, Lodige Industries, Mabo Engineering & Automation, Machinery Technology Development, Magazino, MaroRobotTech, Master Mover, Max AGV, Mihai Robot, MIRCOLOMAY Technology, Mitsubishi Logisnext (Rocla), MLR System, Modoya, Mooe, Movexx, Mushiny, Muvro, Myzer, Nipper, Oceaneering, OCME, Passion Mobility, Proxaut, Raymond, Red Viking, Resgreen International, Robmov, Robos AGV, Robutel AGV, Rucha Yantra, SAFELOG, Savant Automation, Scott, Sdofan Technology, SEW Eurodrive, Siasun, Simplex Robotics, Skilled Group, SSI Schafer, Stäubli WFT, STILL, Sunyell, Swisslog, Synersight, System Logistics, Toyota Material Handling Group, Transolt, TRAPO, TÜNKERS Maschinenbau, Unodopo, Wellwit Robotics, Wewo Techmotion, Yunnan KSEC.
This list does not include AMR manufacturers, for a complete list of mobile robot manufacturers check out our directory page. In the directory you have the ability to search for manufacturers in your country with experience in your industry and use case.
The global AGV market has experienced strong growth as industries increasingly adopt automation. The market is forecast to continue its expansion, although within the overall mobile robot market the AMR category is growing faster than AGVs. Driving factors supporting the market growth include labor issues, desire for greater productivity, technological improvements, and growing awareness of AGV benefits.
Key trends shaping AGV evolution include collaborative operation alongside humans, adoption of AI and advanced perception for more complex navigation, omnidirectional mobility, modular designs, and AGVs optimized for emerging applications.
Mobile Robot Adoption Rates
According to the Association for Advancing Automation, about 30% of North American manufacturing companies have now adopted mobile robots like AGVs or AMRs. Of non-adopters, over 50% plan to adopt mobile automation in the next 5 years.
As AGVs continue advancing in intelligence and capabilities, their applications will keep expanding. Combining AGVs and collaborative robots will enable more dynamic automation. Future AGVs will take on more decision-making with AI and operate more autonomously across dynamic environments from factories to offices. Their productivity and synergy with human workers will grow substantially. AGVs will be a transformative force optimizing supply chains, manufacturing, logistics and workflow automation.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this guide to Automated Guided Vehicles. You now have a strong foundational understanding of AGVs. We welcome you to further explore our website to aid and guide you as you continue to dive deeper into the wonderful world of automated material handling with mobile robots.