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What is Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV)?

Jun.08.2020 76

An automated guided vehicle or automatic guided vehicle (AGV) is a portable robot that follows along marked long lines or wires on the floor, or uses radio waves, vision cameras, magnets, or lasers for navigation. They are most often used in industrial applications to transport heavy materials around a large industrial building, such as a factory or warehouse. Application of the automatic guided vehicle broadened during the late 20th century.

The AGV can tow objects behind them in trailers to which they can autonomously attach. The trailers can be used to move raw materials or finished product. The AGV can also store objects on a bed. The objects can be placed on a set of motorized rollers (conveyor) and then pushed off by reversing them. AGVs are employed in nearly every industry, including pulp, paper, metals, newspaper, and general manufacturing. Transporting materials such as food, linen or medicine in hospitals is also done.

An AGV can also be called a laser guided vehicle (LGV). In Germany the technology is also called Fahrerlose Transport system (FTS) and in Sweden förarlösa truckar. Lower cost versions of AGVs are often called Automated Guided Carts (AGCs) and are usually guided by magnetic tape. AGCs are available in a variety of models and can be used to move products on an assembly line, transport goods throughout a plant or warehouse, and deliver loads.

The first AGV was brought to market in the 1950s, by Barrett Electronics of Northbrook, Illinois, and at the time it was simply a tow truck that followed a wire in the floor instead of a rail. Out of this technology came a new type of AGV, which follows invisible UV markers on the floor instead of being towed by a chain. The first such system was deployed at the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago, Illinois to deliver mail throughout its offices.

Over the years the technology has become more sophisticated and today automated vehicles are mainly Laser navigated e.g. LGV (Laser Guided Vehicle). In an automated process, LGVs are programmed to communicate with other robots to ensure product is moved smoothly through the warehouse, whether it is being stored for future use or sent directly to shipping areas. Today, the AGV plays an important role in the design of new factories and warehouses, safely moving goods to their rightful destination.


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