1953-2020-Overview of AGV Global Development

05/14/202011:27:25 Comments 120


The first AGV was born in 1953. It was transformed from a simple AGC product traction tractor with a car pocket. It transported goods along wires arranged in the air in a grocery store. Then AGV related research started.

In 1960, various types and different levels of AGVS220 sets were installed in Europe, and more than AGV1300 sets were used. By the mid-1970s, due to the popularity of microprocessor and computer technology, the maturity of servo drive technology promoted the improvement of complex controllers, and designed a more flexible AGV.

In 1972 , Kollmorgen NDC led the development and installation of the first modern automated guided vehicle system at the Volmar Kalmar plant.

In 1973 , the Swedish VOLVO company used a large number of AGVs on the assembly line of the KALMAR car factory for computer-controlled assembly operations, which expanded the use of AGVs. At the end of the 1970s, Europe was equipped with about 520 AGV systems and a total of 4,800 vehicles, which had grown to about 10,000 in 1985. Its application areas are: automotive industry (57%), flexible manufacturing system FMS (8%) and flexible assembly system FAS (44%).

In the late 1980s, the number of AGV manufacturers in the United States increased dramatically from 23 in 1983 to 74 in 1985. In 1984, General Motors of the United States completed its first flexible assembly system (FAS), and since then the company has become the largest user of AGV at that time.

In 1986, it had reached 1,407 units (including traction trolleys, forklifts, and unit loading and unloading trolleys). In 1987, 1,662 additional units were added. American companies have developed AGV to a more advanced level on the basis of European technology. They use a more advanced computer control system, which has greater transportation volume, shorter transfer time, and higher reliability of trolleys and controllers.

After more than thirty years of development, AGV technology and applications in Europe and the United States have gradually matured, and AGV has begun to show an industrial development trend.

1953-2020-Overview of AGV Global Development

While AGV is gradually expanding in the European and American markets, Japan has also begun to notice such automated handling equipment.

Japan introduced AGV for the first time in 1963, and its first AGV plant was established in 1966 by a transportation equipment supplier and American Webb. After 1976, Japan attached great importance to the development of AGV, adding dozens of AGV systems every year. There are 27 major manufacturers such as Kobelco Motor, Hirata Motors, Sumitomo Heavy Industries, etc. that produce dozens of different types of AGV.

But on the technical route, Japan and Europe and the United States have moved in different directions.

European and American countries are pursuing the automation of AGVs. AGVs represented by Europe and America do not require manual intervention in path construction at all, and can be used in almost all transportation occasions. This AGV has perfect functions and advanced technology. At the same time, in order to be able to adopt modular planning, reduce planning costs, and increase the scale of mass production, AGVs in Europe and America have abandoned the pursuit of contour modeling and used large parts for assembly; series products Wide coverage: various driving modes, various guiding methods, various transfer mechanisms, and the load capacity of the series products can be from 50kg to 60,000kg (60 tons). Due to the limitations of skills and functions, the sales price of such AGVs remains high.

Japan is pursuing simple and pure AGV skills, or it can only be called AGC (AutomatedGuidedCart). This skill is pursuing simplicity and inefficiency, and strives to allow users to recover investment costs in the shortest time. This type of AGV is very common in Japanese and Taiwanese companies. In terms of quantity, most AGVs produced in Japan belong to this type of product (AGC). This type of product is completely combined with simple production and utilization occasions (single path, fixed process). AGC is only used for handling and does not intentionally emphasize the automatic loading and unloading function of AGC. Cited method. Due to the development of Japan's basic industry, AGC manufacturers can configure functional devices that are almost as simple as they can be, making the cost of AGC almost reduced to the limit. This kind of AGC was widely used in Japan in the 1980s, and reached the peak of utilization from 2002 to 2003.

Whether it is Europe and America pursuing full automation or Japan with simple handling, it is only based on their actual needs to achieve the best balance between cost and efficiency.

1953-2020-Overview of AGV Global Development

As the technology and application of AGV in Europe, America and Japan gradually matures, domestic exploration in the field of AGV has just begun.

In 1976 , the Beijing Institute of Lifting Machinery developed the first AGV, built the first AGV ball processing demonstration system, and then developed an AGV with a unidirectional operating load of 500 kg, and an AGV with bidirectional operating loads of 500 kg, 1000 kg, and 2000 kg. Several simple AGV application systems have been developed.

In 1988, Beijing Post Institute of Science and Technology, former Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, developed the post hub AGV.

But throughout the 1970s and 1980s, domestic research on AGV technology was still only in the laboratory stage, and there was no real application.

Since 1991, Shenyang Automation Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences / Xinsong Robot Automation Research Co., Ltd. has developed and produced 6 AGVs for passenger cars for the Shenyang Jinbei Automobile Plant for use in automobile assembly lines, completing the leap from AGV from laboratory prototype to production of first-line products.

In 1996 , Kunming started to cooperate with NDC. One year later, Kunming built its own national key logistics laboratory and produced the first AGV verification system (2 sets) using NDC technology, the first laser guide in China. Introduce AGV and the first all-round sports AGV.

From 2000 to 2012, it was a stable development stage of the domestic AGV industry. The application of AGV in traditional manufacturing industry, food industry, light industry, etc., made the application of AGV begin to penetrate into various fields of the national economy. Domestically produced AGV and AGVS began to export to foreign developed countries and regions.


In 2012, Amazon acquired kiva. This new type of warehouse sorting AGV began to enter people's attention. To some extent, the popularity of warehouse robots also led to the application of AGV in various industries. Especially in China, there has been a wave of startups around 2014, and the market vitality has continued to increase.

On the technical route , after 2012, AGV began to develop in a more autonomous direction. On the basis of AGV, the industry also began to propose a new concept-AMR (Automated Mobile Robot).

From "automatic guidance" to "autonomous movement", compared with AGV, AMR can use software to draw a map of the inside of the factory or import factory building drawings in advance to achieve navigation. This function is equivalent to a car loaded with GPS and a set of pre-installed maps. When the car sets people's residence and work address, it can generate the most convenient path according to the location on the map, and the flexibility of the handling equipment is greatly improved.

From AGV to AMR, the development of navigation technology is one of the main factors for the gradual transition of equipment from "car" to "robot". Traditional AGV mostly uses navigation methods such as magnetic stripe, electromagnetic and two-dimensional codes, while AMR uses more Slam (instant location and map construction) technology, equipped with lidar or visual sensors, enables autonomous navigation. Of course, due to the complexity of the application scenarios, it is not easy to define which navigation method is the best. The industry also believes that the AGV will develop in the direction of integrated navigation in the future.

With the continuous development of various technologies, AGV is currently more combined with the Internet and big data technology, so that the logistics system's perception ability and independent decision-making ability can be improved, and the degree of intelligence has been significantly improved. At the same time, with the development of the AGV industry, the increasing demand for AGV, the maturity of technology and the reduction of cost will promote the further expansion of the application range of AGV.

In terms of market , Europe, America, Japan, South Korea, and China are currently the main application markets for AGVs. Of course, applications in Southeast Asia and other regions have also gradually started in recent years, while European and American AGV companies are still taking the high-end development route. . Due to its focus on the application history of AGC, Japan is gradually losing its competitiveness in the field of high-end AGVs, and after the vigorous development of domestic AGVs this year, whether it is high-end products or low-end equipment, the categories are relatively complete. At present, some excellent domestic AGV companies Is gradually going overseas.

From 1953 to 2020, in more than 60 years, from single-function handling equipment to being able to adapt to more and more complex environments, the market of AGV is expanding step by step in the process of continuous evolution. What kind of trend will AGVs develop in the future? ? We will wait and see!


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