There have been a lot of advancements in robotics, but with rapid developments comes confusion in nomenclature. So let’s clear up the differences between AMRs and AGVs!
Both units are autonomous systems that can be described as mobile robots, but the big difference between them is in their navigation. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are self-navigating robots that can move through a physical environment without human intervention. AGVs (automated guided vehicles) are self-driving robots that need to follow an established path.
How do they work? AMRs are a newer technology, and are equipped with various sensors like cameras, LIDAR, and ultrasonic sensors, which allow them to perceive and map their surroundings in real time. They also have advanced algorithms and software that enable them to plan and execute their movements, avoid obstacles, and make decisions based on the data they collect. So, an AMR can adjust to new obstacles that pop up on their path and navigate around them.
An AGV cannot do that. It follows a predetermined path, usually marked by magnetic tape or pins but occasionally using other methods such as LIDAR maps, to complete tasks. They typically have sensors that help them avoid obstacles and safely transport goods from one location to another, but when an obstacle appears in their path they stop and wait for it to be cleared rather than trying to navigate around the obstacle.
AMRs and AGVS can be programmed to perform specific tasks, such as transporting raw materials to a production line, moving finished products to storage, and delivering goods to shipping docks. They can communicate with other systems in the facility to coordinate their activities and ensure efficient and safe operation. AGVs are typically used in heavier applications, but that is changing as AMR manufacturers design more robust systems. The biggest difference here is that since AMRs are more autonomous than AGVs, so they require less human intervention for moving obstacles blocking the robot’s path.
Despite limitations, both are a boon to a variety of industries, including manufacturing, logistics, retail, and healthcare. In manufacturing, for example, both AMRs and AGVs can be used to transport materials and goods within a facility. In logistics, they can be used in different instances for warehouse automation and inventory management. However, in healthcare and retail applications, AMRs are a better fit for tasks such as delivery of medication or transport of equipment between locations that may have more human interactions.
Both AMRs and AGVs are designed to improve efficiency, reduce costs and automate repetitive tasks. The big difference between them is in their navigation and adaptability to change. They can be integrated with other systems, and work in a variety of locations to make facilities safer and more efficient.