An automated guided vehicle or automatic guided vehicle (AGV) is a portable robot that follows markers or wires in the floor, or uses vision, magnets, or lasers for navigation. They are most often used in industrial applications to move materials around a manufacturing facility or warehouse. Application of the automatic guided vehicle broadened during the late 20th century.
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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 förarlösatruckar. 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.
Based on navigation technology, the market has been segmented into laser guidance, magnetic guidance, vision guidance, inductive guidance, natural navigation, and others. While the laser guidance segment generated the highest revenue in 2017, the vision guidance segment is expected to exhibit the highest CAGR of 22.6% over the forecast period. Need for efficient and intelligent routing is contributing to the rising adoption of automated guided vehicles.
Camera-based vision complemented by LiDAR sensors and computer systems installed on AGVs can help in ensuring accurate navigation within production facilities and warehouses. These cameras are capable of obtaining information in real time, detecting obstacles, and analyzing infrastructure within facilities.
Key players in the market include Swisslog Holding Ltd.; Egemin Automation Inc.; Bastian Solutions, Inc.; Daifuku Co., Ltd.; Dematic Corp.; JBT Corporation; Seegrid Corporation; Toyota Industries Corporation; Hyster-Yale Group, Inc.; Balyo Inc.; EK Automation; Kollmorgen; KMH Systems, Inc.; Elettric80 SpA; Fetch Robotics, Inc.; inVia Robotics, Inc.; Locus Robotics; Schaefer Systems International, Inc.; System Logistics Spa; and Transbotics