Role of Autonomous Vehicles in Automated Material Handling

Logistics Tech Outlook | Thursday, September 23, 2021

Role of Autonomous Vehicles in Automated Material HandlingSuccessful installation of an automated material handling system, guided vehicle, or mobile robot needs an accurate assessment of the requirements and the technologies best suited for the task.

FREMONT, CA: The world economy, corporate onshoring efforts, and current supply chain economic changes have resulted in a massive increase in demand for assembly automation and robotic work cells. Material handling, or the transfer of raw materials and finished goods around a factory, is becoming more automated.

Due to several reasons, including the rise in e-commerce, technological advancements, a fall in the cost of computing power, and the rising cost or unavailability of labor in several parts of the world, warehouse automation is projected to continue in the future.

Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

Unmanned robotic vehicles that carry products from one area to another are one way to automate material handling in a facility. AGVs, or Automatic Guided Vehicles, are mobile robots programmed to transport objects throughout a facility.

Floor markers, underground wires, magnets, lasers, and cameras are used to direct AGV along their pre-programmed route. They come to a halt and pause at predetermined spots, then resume their journey once a predefined time has passed or through a pushbutton input. The onboard sensors of AGV identify objects in its route and instantly stop the vehicle to prevent colliding with barriers or humans.MATERIAL HANDLING SYSTEM

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)

Autonomous Mobile Robots, or AMRs, have advanced quickly in the last few years and become more widespread in warehouses and distribution facilities. AMRs are the same as AGVs, but there is one significant distinction. The people using the AMR program destinations into the system rather than a particular path in the future factories. Utilizing significant computing power, artificial intelligence, and a set of advanced cameras, lasers, and sensors, every vehicle decides its course from one point to another.

As it deals with new scenarios during regular operations, the robot's machine learning abilities help it grow more effectively and accurately with time. Irrespective of the technology used, the objective is to create a vehicle that can navigate an environment without being guided.

Engineers have created a variety of AMR configurations to manage a variety of commodities and materials. Several AMRs close to the floor is built to lift or "tug" a whole shelf or cart of items. Some AMRs are formed like hand lift trucks and use forks to move a regular pallet. Few AMRs even have shelves or racks, and others are large enough to transport complete portions of a passenger jet fuselage.


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