Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) - flexible conveyor technology

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are increasingly taking over transportation tasks in companies. First and foremost, they are replacing forklift trucks and other manned industrial trucks. However, they also represent an alternative to continuous conveyor technology.

As a system integrator, Unitechnik analyzes the task and selects suitable systems from well-known manufacturers on the market. Many factors play a role here, such as performance, scalability, load capacity, load handling equipment and service. The vehicles are connected to our UniWare warehouse management system via defined interfaces. The transfer points are carefully planned by Unitechnik - both physically and in terms of information technology. In this way, the automated vehicles become an integral part of our logistics systems.

Advantages of driverless transport systems / AMR

Flexible routes

Scalable performance

Requires little space

no forklift drivers

Your contact persons

Michael Huhn

Head of Sales
Authorized signatory

T +49 2261 987-518
E-Mail | vCard

M. Yusuf Kaya

Key Account Manager
Logistics Systems

T +49 2261 987-524
E-Mail | vCard

Andreas Klee

Key Account Manager
Logistics Systems

T +49 2261 987-525
E-Mail | vCard

Christian Mertens

Key Account Manager
Logistics Systems

T +49 2261 987-502
E-Mail | vCard

What is meant by FTS and AMR?

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are autonomous vehicles that can transport goods and merchandise in industrial and logistics environments without human control or guidance. These systems use various technologies such as sensors, cameras, laser scanners and artificial intelligence to detect their surroundings and navigate safely.

Abbreviations

AGV: Automated guided vehicle
AMR: Autonomous mobile robot
FTF: Automated guided vehicle (also AGV)
AGV: Automated guided vehicle (also FTF)
Vehicles: AMR or FTF, or AGV

What is an automated guided vehicle system (AGV)?

A typical AGV consists of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) that are equipped with sensors, cameras or laser navigation systems to perceive their surroundings and detect obstacles. Communication and coordination between the vehicles and other systems often takes place via a central control system that handles order placement, route planning and monitoring.

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) navigate automatically along predefined paths (physically or virtually using magnetic tapes, induction loops, reflector triangulation, etc.). The vehicles follow this path and cannot leave it. If the AGV's safety sensors detect an obstacle, the AGV stops and waits until the obstacle has been removed or the person has moved away.

What is an autonomous mobile robot (AMR)?

On the outside, an AMR hardly differs from an AGV. The main difference lies in its navigation. Thanks to natural navigation, it is able to redefine routes or paths and avoid obstacles. An AMR does not need any predefined fixed paths. It can define its route while driving. If an obstacle is detected, the AMR adjusts its path to avoid the object. Natural navigation means that the robot maps its environment and is able to navigate and localize itself by "observing" this environment without any hardware (tape, reflectors, etc.). For this purpose, it uses advanced navigation and positioning systems such as laser scanners, cameras or lidar systems.

Several AMRs communicate either via a central control system or directly with each other. In the second case, we speak of swarm intelligence. This is a collective intelligence in which a group of AMRs work together to achieve a common goal.

Areas of application for AGVs and AMRs

Areas of application for AMR

AMRs are suitable for applications with multiple and variable destinations, e.g:

  • Supply of workstations with material
  • Autonomous mobile picking robots
  • In hospitals, for example disinfection robots
  • Warehouse applications, especially in e-commerce and parcel services
  • Autonomous floor cleaners

Areas of application for AGVs

AGVs have their strengths where defined transport routes need to be operated at high frequency and as predictably as possible.

In summary, it can be said that AGVs are often used in intralogistics environments to perform specific transportation tasks on predefined routes. AMRs, on the other hand, are more versatile and flexible and can navigate and operate autonomously in different industries and environments.

What should you look out for when introducing automated guided vehicles or AMR?

When introducing driverless transportation systems, or AMR, there are several important aspects to look out for. Here are some of them:

  1. Selecting the "right" system in terms of technical suitability to perform the specific tasks, as each company has its own requirements.
  2. Technical equipment and safety: Make sure that the systems have reliable sensors and implement emergency measures to minimize the risk of failure.
  3. Infrastructure: Make sure that the environment in which the AGVs/AMRs are to be used is equipped accordingly. Sufficient space for driving and turning movements. Ground tolerances must be observed.
  4. Energy management: Charging and parking stations must be planned and provided for. Charging times and waiting times must be taken into account in the power calculation.
  5. Sources and sinks: The planning and design of transfer points requires a great deal of know-how. An expert should be brought in at an early stage.
  6. Training and handling the new system: Provide the employees who will be working with the driverless transport systems with appropriate training. It is important that they understand the system and know how to use it. Clear communication about the benefits and functionality of AGVs/AMRs can also reduce fears or concerns and facilitate acceptance.
  7. Scalability and flexibility: Plan the introduction of automated guided vehicles in a way that allows for scalability and flexibility. Consider potential future requirements and ensure that the system is expandable and can adapt to changing conditions.

CONCLUSION: AMR is a great opportunity for certain applications, but not for all applications. Each individual project must be analyzed and understood. You need to be sure whether it makes technical and economic sense to use AMR or a conventional AGV.

Our white paper on the topic:

Fahrerlose Transportsysteme versus stationäre Fördertechnik
Whitepaper
Fahrerlose Transportsysteme versus stationäre Fördertechnik
download   download

Worth knowing

Our whitepapers

Retrofit in der Intralogistik - worauf es ankommt
Whitepaper
Retrofit in der Intralogistik - worauf es ankommt
download   download
Königsweg zur LVS-Ablösung - Branchentrends und ein individueller Fahrplan
Whitepaper
Königsweg zur LVS-Ablösung - Branchentrends und ein individueller Fahrplan
download   download
Automatisierung in der Intralogistik - Leitfaden für die individuelle Lösung
Whitepaper
Automatisierung in der Intralogistik - Leitfaden für die individuelle Lösung
download   download
Fahrerlose Transportsysteme versus stationäre Fördertechnik
Whitepaper
Fahrerlose Transportsysteme versus stationäre Fördertechnik
download   download
More documents
Digitaler Zwilling in der Intralogistik - Vision und Realität
Whitepaper
Digitaler Zwilling in der Intralogistik - Vision und Realität
download   download
Moderne IT- und Automatisierungskonzepte für Logistik 4.0
Whitepaper
Moderne IT- und Automatisierungskonzepte für Logistik 4.0
download   download
Regalbediengerat vs. Shuttle, mit unabhängiger Beratung zur passenden AKL-Lösung
Whitepaper
Regalbediengerat vs. Shuttle, mit unabhängiger Beratung zur passenden AKL-Lösung
download   download
Worauf es bei der Auswahl eines Kommissioniersystems ankommt
Whitepaper
Worauf es bei der Auswahl eines Kommissioniersystems ankommt
download   download

Logistics Consulting

We believe that a good planning process needs a clear and transparent structure. That is why we have developed the three-phase plan, which helps you to future-proof your logistics.

Our planning department also supports you in selecting the right AGV or AMR.

Find out here how we proceed.

FAQs on automated guided vehicles and autonomous mobile robots

Yes, they are!
AMR offer the possibility to add or change routes easily and effortlessly. Usually, the environment is mapped and a route is created - that's all. Changing an AGV route requires a little more work and in many cases the support of the provider.

Flexibility can come at the expense of performance. This is because it does not always make sense to look for an alternative route in the event of an obstacle, e.g. a person in the path of travel. In addition, an AGV is more predictable for people, as the vehicles always behave in the same way.

Not at all. Both AMR and AGVs are safe. Both use the same safety equipment to avoid collisions and ensure the required level of safety.

The fleet manager is a central control system that manages the vehicles. It is responsible for planning, coordination and monitoring. The vehicles communicate with the central system and receive instructions.

With swarm intelligence, the vehicles work together decentrally and autonomously. Each vehicle makes its own decisions, communicates with other vehicles and coordinates their movements. This allows them to react flexibly to changes and find optimal routes.

AGVs usually have a fleet manager; AMR systems have both.

Select contact person

Do you still have questions? We will be happy to answer them.

To the contact persons