Self Guided Vehicles
Self guided vehicles are computer-controlled transportation units that perform applications without any sort of human direction or control.
Quick links to Self Guided Vehicles Information
Applications of Self Guided Vehicles
Used increasingly in place of fork lifts, conveyor systems and manual push-carts, automatic guided vehicles provide high volumes of movement, especially for repetitive and continuous processes.
Self guided vehicles are used in many industries, including:
- Automotive Assembly
- Food and Beverage Processing
- Mail Service
- Plastic Manufacturing and Storage
Some self guided vehicles are designed for use in specific environments, such as those used in clean room processes and operations. These electric battery powered vehicles are useful in indoor applications where no sudden or essential decisions are made that cannot be done by automated machinery.
Self Guided Vehicle Design and Customization
There are a number of different AGV systems that can be adjusted according to a manufacturer’s needs based on their products and what kind of self guided vehicle would be most useful. Fixed path guidance systems use embedded wire, magnetic tape, or strips of paint to guide the autonomous guided vehicle along a predetermined and set path. The vehicle uses an antenna and radio frequencies to stay on the correct route, as the wire paths have frequencies or currents running through them that an antenna on the vehicle follows. More commonly found today, however, are computer-based free range systems, which bring the added advantage of route flexibility. Computer software is used to program the vehicles, which are then able to use internal navigation, often combined with laser scanners and targets, to move around a factory or warehouse floor. There are also inertial guidance vehicles, which have a gyroscope that maintains the path by directions from a computer control system.
Depending on the specific application for which a vehicle is to be used, self guided vehicles range significantly in construction and shape. They may have a towing mechanism, room for unit or pallet loading, fork lifts, and space for light loads or components needed in assembly lines like robotic arms. Light load vehicles can be used for small parts distribution and assembly, while much larger vehicles, such as towing vehicles, can be used for moving heavy and cumbersome loads.
Benefits of Using Self Guided Vehicles
While they may be considered a high initial investment, self guided vehicles reduce labor costs, increase efficiency, and provide safer working environments. They are able to work around-the-clock, improving the operational flow and greatly increasing output production rates. Furthermore, these vehicles eliminate the risk of bumping, crashes, and collisions, which are often a cause for concern with worker-controlled machines and vehicles.