In the world of logistics, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and Automated Mobile Robots (AMRs) are common terms. Both AGVs and AMRs enable the automation of material handling, optimizing the efficiency and productivity of warehouses and manufacturing facilities. As more companies move forward with automating their supply chain, it’s important to understand the differences between the two technologies to ensure a wise investment.
What is AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle)?
AGVs are industrial vehicles that transport goods around a warehouse or manufacturing facility. Traditionally, they are guided by magnets, barcodes, beacons, or wires implanted beneath the surface of a device. They rely on pre-programmed software to work, typically following a fixed route and being stopped by obstacles in their path.
What is AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot)?
AMRs, a technology that emerged after the AGV, are vehicles that use sensors, processors, and navigation algorithms to move through a warehouse or facility without the need for physical guides. They can read the environment and plan their own routes dynamically. You don’t have to follow a fixed route and can avoid obstacles using an internal map.
AMR vs. AGV – The fundamental difference
Basically, the difference between an AGV and an AMR boils down to their level of intelligence. Both the AGV and AMR allow for a degree of automation, but at best an AGV can follow basic commands to move according to a pre-assigned route and avoid obstacles. For new or unexpected scenarios, an AGV cannot adapt as versatile as the AMR. An AMR replaces an AGV in its ability to learn and adapt to new situations, e.g. B. to replan its route after hitting an obstacle and use such accumulated experience to become more efficient and accurate over time (i.e. machine learning).
AMR vs. AGV – 7 differences that companies should consider
A close examination of AGV and AMR reveals 7 critical differences that companies should definitely consider before deciding to invest in either technology.
AGV: Requires infrastructure such as wires, RFID, beacons, laser guidance, or magnetic tapes to allow the vehicle to move independently.
AMR: Uses trackless navigation via an internal map and sensors.
flexibility and scalability
AGV: Extremely complex and expensive task to add new routes or destinations.
AMR: Able to quickly learn new routes and chart optimal paths, additional AMRs can be added to an existing fleet in less than a day.
AGV: As a comparatively less advanced technology, it is usually the more cost-effective variant.
AMR: While it can be more expensive than an AGV, it’s still cost-effective with quick and easy deployment, little to no downtime, and no infrastructure costs.
AGV: More reliable than AMRs as it follows a rigid path.
AMR: Natural and real-time reactions to their environment can cause deviations in expected movement.
Installation and Redeployment
AGV: Slow and complex to install due to building infrastructure throughout the facility, cannot adapt to new environments without new infrastructure.
AMR: Quick and easy to install and redeploy, requiring no significant infrastructure, can be moved between facilities as shared resources.
Businesses should invest in AGVs and AMRs that meet their respective safety standards. However, the following points can be considered.
AGV: Safe because of its predictability, does not proceed when encountering obstacles.
AMR: Rerouted paths of the AMR can inadvertently disturb other parts of the environment.
data and intelligence
AGV: Does not collect or learn from past data, no insight into fleet performance.
AMR: Can use machine learning to collect relevant data and optimize fleet operations.
AMR vs AGV – Which Should You Choose?
After learning these differences, it may be time to choose between AGV and AMR. To help you make that choice, here are some perspectives.
If your business relies on traditional business models and has a simple and rarely changing workflow, AGVs may still be a good fit as they get the job done and are relatively cheaper in the market. However, as you transform your organization into an agile enterprise that aims to dynamically respond to changing demand, changes to production lines, and complex new manufacturing environments, the AMR is the better choice with intelligent technology and flexible use.
May your business choose the most appropriate technology that will enable it to thrive with today’s challenges and opportunities! To learn more about Geek+’s AMR solutions and how they have transformed global warehouse productivity, access our repository from case studies.