AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) are still most of the options for automating transportation tasks within factories. Today, a more advanced technology is competing with them: AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot). Although both AGV and AMR move materials from point A to point B, in addition to this point, there are many differences between AGV and AMR.
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AGV: Used for simple programming instructions.AGV was introduced into the automotive industry in the 1950s to transport or tow materials. They occupies a pivotal position in the logistics field, and can transport goods in designated spaces without manual intervention. To this end, AGV can use two technologies:1. Wire guidance: buried wire for wave-like emission, metal rails on the ground, underground wires... The AGV moves along a path drawn on the ground. The robot will detect the signal transmitted by the path and track it as if it were on a railroad track. It takes work to implement this movement technique and modify the path in any way. Therefore, wire guidance is suitable for simple applications, but does not provide any flexibility.2. Optical guidance: Optical guidance is a cheaper and simpler alternative to wire guidance, which enables AGVs to use on-board cameras to follow the painted lines on the ground. The solution has not yet achieved total flexibility, but it does not require structural work.Because AGV has very little onboard information, it can only follow its basic programming instructions. Guided by the wire, its movement is limited to fixed routes, and minimal changes to these routes will involve a lot of work and production interruptions. The AGV can detect obstacles in its path, but cannot bypass them. If the path is blocked, it will stop moving until the obstacle is removed.AMR: A more autonomous and flexible robotAMR is an alternative to fixed infrastructure, with higher startup costs and relatively inflexible use of AGV. They also rely on two more complex technologies:1. Laser guidance: The system allows AMR to move, thanks to the reflector network integrated in its environment. The robot is equipped with a rotating laser, moves using the principle of distance measurement, and uses a mirror to define its path. The combination of these two technologies allows AMR to accurately position itself.In addition, the path of the robot can be easily modified using the monitoring software included with the system. Laser guidance is currently one of the most reliable technologies in the automated guided vehicle market. Its accuracy makes it the technology of choice for medical applications.2. Geographic navigation: This system requires the creation of facility maps, and does not require infrastructure development or work. AMR can automatically find a method and automatically calculate its path. The advantage is that the mapping of the robot operating environment can be changed at any time. Therefore, it is a highly flexible technology.AMR is the result of the latest innovation and uses the best available technology. These autonomous robots have dynamic digital maps and onboard cameras, and use laser guidance. They also rely on data from cameras, built-in sensors and laser scanners, and sophisticated software to detect their environment and choose the most efficient path to the target. AMR can be quickly configured and easily reprogrammed, because it only needs to change its path on the electronic map to take corresponding measures.The difference between AGV and AMR: What are the pros and cons?Collaboration with people: Since the AGV stops on the smallest obstacle found, it is more effective in an unobstructed, unmanned environment. However, they are safer for humans because they will stop if there is a danger of collision. On the other hand, AMRs are designed to operate in more fluid spaces, where the operator can safely move with them.With features that enable them to analyze the environment, AMR can detect whether they have enough space to bypass obstacles. Therefore, these automatic mobile robots can use the same path as pedestrians without any risk. How much does therobot cost? Due to the need for installation work, implementing AGV under the guidance of wires is a major financial investment. That is to say, the cost of designing a robot is limited because it only involves very little on-board intelligence.AMR and its more advanced technology constitute a larger expenditure item. However, the buyer will not have to perform any work to ensure its normal operation. Given that AMRs can be deployed quickly and easily, they provide a faster return on investment.Automation and intelligence: AMR has the advantages of not being limited to fixed routes, adapting to obstacles and being more flexible.