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Automatically Guided Vehicle System

As mechanized and automated production plants are expanded, the
problems of transport, handling and storage became increasingly important, since once
these have been overcome, there is considerable scope for rationalization for both industry
and commerce. Bearing in mind the trend towards increased automation in the
manufacturing areas, the internal transport systems in the form of Automated Guided
Vehicle Systems, i.e. the AGVS occupy an important place in general field of materials
handling. Within the framework of this study, internal transport systems will be defined as
all trucks that are used for handling if material flow throughout industrial and commercial
enterprises. Material flow is horizontal & mainly inside the buildings but may include
transport between the buildings provided that the public transport is not involved.
AGVs are driver-less industrial trucks, usually powered by-electric motors
and batteries. AGVs range in size from carrying small loads of a few kilograms up to
loads over 100 tons. The working environment may vary from offices with carpet floor to
harbor dockside areas. Automatic load handling is used in many AGV-systems. The AGV
can pick up and drop off pallets or transfer loads automatically using fork attachments,
conveyors, lift tops etc. depending on the type and size of the load units to handle. Modern
AGVs are computer-controlled vehicles with onboard microprocessors. Most AGV-
systems also have system management computers, optimizing the AGV utilization, giving
transport orders, tracking the material in transfer and directing the AGV traffic.
1.1 Historical Development: -
The first Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVS) were developed in USA by
Barrette Electronics 1950s. The first system was installed in 1954 at Mercury Motor
Freight in Columbia. It was a tugger system, following an inductive guidance path and
with a controller based on vacuum tube technology.
Many factors hindered the early growth of AGV industry. The controllers
were bulky & had very limited capabilities. Also the labour unions saw them as a direct
threat & even resorted to the sabotage of AGV systems.
During 1960's and early 1970's, the controllers were first transistorized &
then later replaced with integrated circuits (IC) technology. This permitted more compact
controllers with more computing powers. Today AGV systems are highly developed & are
making use of sophisticated techniques like laser guidance and complete computerised
Thus AGVs are offering the industries a viable solution because of their
flexibility & ability to offer material tracking & inventory support, asynchronous assembly,
and readily integrate with other automation such as robots, automatic storage & retrieval
systems of CNC machines. It is also one of the few material handling systems that will
allow unmanned manufacturing to become a reality.
1.2 Basic Functions Carried Out By AGVS: -
1) Supply and disposal at store and production areas.
This area includes many different applications in the entire internal material
flow from the time of goods-in, through the store areas & production sections right up to
the dispatch.
2) Production-integrated application of AGVS trucks as assembly platforms.

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This application is based upon the idea that the manufacturing process can
be structured in more flexible way with this transport system.
3) Retrieval especially in wholesales trade.
This application is very useful in order picking in a wholesale trade where
there is a large turnover and frequent access of the material.
4) Supply and disposal in special areas, such as hospitals and movement of files within the
With regard to the high-level of organisational integration in the overall
system of operations the following special applications have become particularly
1. Servicing high-bay stores with central process control.
2. Servicing of engine test cells in the car industry, especially in the electrical test station as
well as in the performance testing.
3. Servicing of production work places according to the principle of central work
4. Integration of the AGVS in packaging and palletising processes such as travel through
shrink-wrapping ovens and automatic palletisers.
5. Integration of AGVS in the servicing of the flexible manufacturing systems.
6. Use in the areas having the health hazards, such as the cold stores or areas with the risk
of radiation.
7. Use in war times for remote inspection, detection and disarming of bombs.
8. Use as a space Tele-operator for moving and collecting information on remote planets
like Mars, Moon etc.

In this chapter, we will be looking into the various components of AGVS &
characteristic features of the systems.
The main components of AGV-system are:
1) The truck or tractor, pallet truck, tow skid basic type.
2) The floor system with the installation of the wire guidance system and the information
transfer system.
3) The load transfer equipment, which can be both on board the truck and /or in a
stationary position, including the station structure.
4) The truck and traffic control systems.
5) The flexible safety guard and the safety system.
Following are the constructional features of the vehicle as shown in fig. 2.1
with a brief description of each:

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2.1 Control Enclosure: -

The electrical control enclosure of a forklift AGV includes all controls of
the AGV. Normally there are a control board with an I/O board, chopper units for drive,
steer and lift motors. The design of the enclosure makes it very easy to access all the
components, which makes it easier to service and troubleshoot. Another advantage is that
the control enclosure can be prefabricated as a standard unit, which lowers the cost of the
AGV and shortens the lead-time during manufacturing.
On the front part of the control enclosure is the control terminal located. It
is used for entering information when inserting an AGV to an AGV traffic control system.
It is also used for all kind of trouble shooting on the vehicle. Control terminal display
features are: Current error messages; a history of the 16 latest error messages; status of all
on-board software: status of all digital I/O's guidance status; hour counters for power,
drive and lift motors; battery voltage ; memory content which may be changed from
keypad; etc.
A separate safety control module is located in the enclosure. All safety
signals from bumpers, E-stop's etc. are connected to the safety control module. It
supervises the safety parts of the AGV making sure all safety equipment is in function at
all times. The safety module has doubled safety circuits and safety relay outputs. It detects
single faults in safety components and safety circuits. The principle of operation is that
both safety circuits must have the same status. If only one circuit is opened up, the module
can not be restarted.
On the side of the control enclosure are normally a key switch used to
select OFF / AUTOMATIC / MANUAL mode. In the OFF status is the power turned off.
The AUTOMATIC mode is the normal mode for the AGV when used automatically in the
system. The MANUAL mode is only used for manual operation when inserting an AGV to
a system or for moving the AGV manually.
The control enclosure has an E-stop (Emergency stop) push button on each
side. The E-stop will stop all functions of the AGV by disconnecting power to motors as
well as giving an E-stop signal to the microprocessor.
The manual control unit (MCU) is located on the side of the control
enclosure. To each AGV is normally one MCU included. It is used for manually
controlling all functions of the AGV.
2.2 Battery:
The battery of a forklift AGV is located above the drive unit and below the
electrical control enclosure. The battery may be tractionary lead acid, gel or Ni-Cd type.
The location of the battery makes it very easy to access for maintenance. It is covered by a
cover plate, which also holds it in position. A normal AGV has a 48-volt battery. The
capacity depends of type of battery, AGV and operation. The battery may stand on a roller
bed in an AG from where the battery is exchanged when discharged. This makes it easy to
replace the battery by simply rolling it on and off the AGV.
2.3 Drive Unit : -
The drive unit on a forklift AGV is located under the battery and behind the
front bumper. It is an integrated unit with a drive motor and a fail safe brake. The drive unit
is mounted on a mounting plate, which is attached to a turntable. A steering motor is

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mounted to the mounting plate and rotates the complete unit when running. The drive unit
is very reliable and requires very little maintenance.
The drive unit is mounted with spring suspension on five-wheel forklift
AGVs. The spring presses the drive wheel to the floor with a constant force. This will
ensure good contact and friction between drive wheel and floor surface at all times.
The DC motors of the drive and steer unit are always permanent magnetized
(PM) motors. The motor size is depending on load capacity of the AGV. The motor
requires normally only brush changes as maintenance. An incremental encoder is mounted
direct on the drive motor. The encoder gives pulses to the AGV control board, which are
used for distance measuring, and speed control.
A potentiometer is located on top of the drive unit in the AGV. It is direct
linked to the steering and gives a feedback signal to the control board of the AGV, telling
exact angle of the steering wheel.
In an AGV used for inductive wire guided systems a front main guide
antenna is located in front of the drive wheel. This antenna is used for guiding on main
In an AGV used for inductive wire guided systems normally a cross antenna
is mounted next to the drive unit, in line with the wheel. The antenna is mounted
perpendicular to the guide antennas and is used to detect cross wires that the AGV is
passing or stopping over. By counting cross wires the AGV can move long distances
controlled by a simple command telling how many cross wires to count. At stop positions
where very high accuracy is required the AGV can stop with the cross antenna positioned
exactly over a cross wire.
The drive and steer motor are controlled by four quadrant choppers in the
electrical control enclosure. The choppers gives smooth start and stops and makes it
possible to stop the AGV with high accuracy. At emergency stop the drive chopper is
disconnected by a contactor and the drive brake is braking as power disappears.
2.4 Lift Unit: -
The lift unit is covered by the cover plate. It is mounted on a cross-tie
welded to the fixed mast. Always an electromechanical design of the lift unit consisting of
a ball screw with a ball nut, a DC motor, worm gear box and a brake is used. This is
a very efficient design, which gives high positioning accuracy for the lift height position,
which is very important at high lift heights.
The lift screw is normally a ball screw with a ball nut attached to it. The lift
screw is attached to the worm gear box in the top. The lift ball nut is attached to the fork
carriage or the duplex mast in the AGV. The worm gear box is mounted between the DC
motor and the lift screw, it has also an electromechanical brake mounted to it. The brake is
used at E-stops and as a parking brake for the lift. The DC motor of the lift unit is normally
a permanent magnetized (PM) motor. The motor size is depending of load capacity and lift
frequency of the AGV. An incremental encoder is mounted direct on top of the lift screw.
The encoder gives pulses to the AGV control board, which are used for height measuring.
The lift motor is controlled by a special electronical lift control unit. It is
located in the electrical control enclosure. The lift control unit gives smooth start and stops
and makes it possible to stop the lift unit with high accuracy.

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2.5 Fixed Mast: -

The fixed mast of a forklift AGV is made of pre-fabricated C-profiles of a
type commonly used in manual forklift trucks. The mast is welded to the bottom plate of
the vehicle and makes an integrated part of the AGV structure. Inside the mast there is the
fork carriage running up and down. The fork carriage has four rollers rolling inside the
mast C-profiles. On a high lift AGV with duplex mast there are the duplex mast rollers
running inside the fixed mast C-profiles.
The battery is standing on beams welded to the fixed mast. The electrical
control enclosure is bolted to the fixed mast. At the top of the mast is a cross-tie welded to
the mast. On this cross-tie is the lift unit mounted.

2.6 Duplex Mast: -

A high lift AGV uses a duplex telescopic mast for enabling high lift
height with a normal height of the vehicle. The duplex mast of a forklift AGV is
made of pre-fabricated C-profiles of a type .commonly used in manual forklift trucks. The
mast has rollers welded to it and these rollers runs inside the fixed mast C-profiles. The
fork carriage runs with its rollers inside the duplex mast C-profiles.
The duplex mast is lifted by the lift nut and it lifts the lift chains over the
chain wheels. The lift chains are attached to the top cross-tie of the fixed mast and to the
fork carriage. The fork carriage will run twice as fast as the lift nut and the duplex mast.
As an option the fork can have a separate lift unit making it possible with
high lift heights and a low vehicle. There may also be a third mast for very high lift
heights, up to seven meters.
2.7 Fork: -
The fork of an AGV is normally made from a profile welded to the fork
carriage. The fork may be open on the underside or closed depending on AGV type and
load capacity. For some applications massive forged forks may also be used.
In the tip of each fork arm is normally a bumper mounted, it is used for
protection and will stop all movement of the vehicle if it is obstructed by an object. This
may happen if a load is mispositioned at pickup or during manual operation. On the fork
back is a load detection sensor mounted close to the fork back. Other load sensors may be
located in the fork.
2.8 Front Bumper: -
The front bumper is a safety device, which should stop the AGV
immediately if it is obstructed by an object. The front bumper of an AGV is normally
designed with a polycarbonate shield around the front part of the AGV. The shield is
mounted on two hinges, which are fixed to the AGV chassis. The shape of the bumper
shield is controlled by strings attached to the shield and AGV chassis.
The main purpose of the bumper is to protect people and the AGV itself
from damage. It is normal for a bumper in an industrial environment with combined AGV
traffic and manual forklifts, to be damaged and worn as it is obstructed. This bumper is
designed with this in mind and is very easy to repair to a low cost.
The sensor of the front bumper is made in two main designs with a
photocell or limit switches. The standard design is with a photocell on top of the control

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enclosure detecting a reflector on the bumper shield. The photocell has a testable input,
which is used by the control board to test the complete bumper electrical circuit each
second. The option to the photocell is two limit switches attached via strings to the bumper
shield. The above sensors are combined with limit switches on the sides to detect
obstruction from the sides.
2.9 Rear Support Leg: -
The support legs are welded to the bottom plate and make an integrated part
of the AGV structure. The rear wheels are mounted in the support legs and are covered. In
an AGV used for inductive wire guided systems is a rear guide antenna located behind the
rear wheel. A front leg antenna is located in front of the support leg. The rear leg antenna is
used for guiding in reverse travel, and the front leg antenna for guiding in forward travel.
Some AGVs may have guide antennas in both support legs to simplify the floor
At the rear end of each support leg is a rear bumper located. The rear
bumper is a spring mounted plastic plate. The plate is made in durable plastic and activates
sensors when obstructed by an object. The rear bumper may also carry additional sensors,
such as miniature photocells used for load detection.
2.10 Characteristics: -
The current market situation is characterized by demanding requirements.
The characteristics of the transport system are:
1) The conveying technique - continuous or discontinuous as well as overhead or
floor mounted.
2) The conveying speed.
3) The economic transport path.
4) The type of drive.
5) The goods being transported or handling aid.


3.1 Mechanical Guidepath: -
This uses some form of rails, directly or indirectly (i.e. through a steering
mechanism) to guide the vehicle. (This technique being of minor importance in the modern
AGV systems scene is considered mainly for reference purposes.)
The characteristics of this navigation system are:
1) Range: Excellent, as guidepaths i.e. rails of any length can be installed.
2) Accuracy: Excellent. Guidance accuracies in the sub-millimeter range can be achieved if
3) Flexibility: Poor. As rails are fixed rigidly to the ground, considerable effort is necessary
if it is required to rearrange the guidepath.
4) Reliability: Good. If there is only a mechanical guidance slot sunk in the floor then in
working with a finger guided vehicle the problem of clogging of the slot has to be
5) Controllability: Acceptable. The technique of building remotely controlled switches is
well known for all kinds of rail structures.

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3.2 Inductive Guidepath: -

It is the 'classical' AGV guidance system using a floor-embedded
wire carrying alternating current.
Wire guidance is the most widely used method of AGV guidance today, and
for good reason. Wire has been around since the advent of the AGV technology. It sports
high accuracy, dependability, and the simplest initial setup of all the methods.
Wire guidance in an AGV is based on the fact that an electrical conductor
through which an AC current is flowing will create an electromagnetic field around
itself (as shown in fig. 3.1). This field is stronger close to the conductor and is reduced
with increased distance from the conductor.
An electromagnetic field, which passes through a coil, will induce an
electric voltage across the coil ends. This voltage can be detected across the termination of
the coil. The voltage is proportional to the strength of the field.
A guide antenna contains two coils positioned on each side of the wire,
which is embedded in the floor. The difference in electric voltage between the two coils
will, after amplification, create the steering signal to the steering motor of the AGV. When
the antenna is centered over the wire, the voltage in the coils will be the same and the
steering is equal to zero. If the antenna is positioned to either side of the guide wire, the
voltage will be increased in one coil and reduced in the other. This voltage difference will
generate a steering which will control the rotation direction of the steering motor.
Floor installation is made very easy today as there are several companies
specializing in this technique. Special floor cutting machines are developed which cut the
floor without excessive noise, concrete dust or water spillage and leaves a clean slot ready
for installation of the wires. With the improvements in programming capabilities, it is no
longer necessary to cut radiuses for vehicle turns. The vehicle is also able to leave the
guide path for several feet and return with no interruption in operation.
The characteristics of this navigation system are:
1) Range: Good. The length of an inductive guidewire loop limited only by the drive of
the capability alternating current amplifier used.
2) Accuracy: Good. Accuracy is limited by distortion of the electromagnetic field caused
by metallic objects in the vicinity of the guidewire.
3) Flexibility: Medium. To move an existing guidepath a new slot has to be cut into the
floor and the guidewire loop reconnected.
4) Reliability: Excellent. As guidepath is embedded in the floor it is almost ideally
protected from environmental influences.
5) Controllability: Excellent. As switches can be implemented by using several
distinct frequencies and data communication is possible by modulation of frequencies.
3.3 Optical / Chemical / Magnetic Guidepath:
This uses a passive strip on the floor that is detectable by proximity sensors
(magnetic) or optically. Of the late a principle is known where a 'chemical' guidepath is
exited with ultraviolet waves re-emits in the visible range, thereby vastly improving the
contrast ratio.
The figure 3.2 shows a system designed to guide an industrial vehicle along
a painted track. This mode of guidance is intended for long outdoor ways between two

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buildings, where classical inductive methods require too costly equipments of the ground.
Optoguiding along a painted track is too much sensitive to track quality, so its use is
limited to clean working areas. To overcome this problem, a video sensor is used, which
obtains much larger view far from the cart's front. So local defaults of the painted track to
be followed have no fatal consequences on the guiding security. The sensor can also be
used as a security detector for objects taking place on the cart's way.
The system includes three parts: 1) A 256 photodiodes linear array analyses
the path, one meter in front of the carts driving wheel. 2) A filter, based on a digital
processor, delivers information on the detection quality and on the offset between the
camera axis and the detected painted track. This last data allows control of the driving
wheel. 3) A last module ensures driving in case of detection failure on a length upto 0.5m.
In such cases guiding has to be hold without vision. It takes into account the last detection
before failure.
The characteristics of this navigation system are:
1) Range : Excellent. The cost of an optical, chemical or magnetic guidepath is
proportional to its installed length.
2) Accuracy: very much dependent on the working principle applied. Simple magnetic or
optical systems suffer substantial errors due to poor selectivity of sensors used.
3) Flexibility: Good. As the guidepaths are painted or pasted to the ground, they can be
removed easily.
4) Reliability: Medium. As guidepath is mostly attached to the floor surface it is vulnerable
to environmental influences.
5) Controllability: Poor. As optical chemical and magnetic guidepaths are all passive in
their nature there is no inherent means of switch control or start / stop control.
3.4 Magneto-Gyro Guidance: -
The Magnet-Gyro guiding and navigation system has a special made
magnet position sensor used to find small magnets installed in the floor, and Gyroscope
technology to keep the AGV heading direction continuously under control. In addition,

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there are odometer wheel and steering angle feed back, the same as used on vehicles with
inductive wire guidance system. The magnet sensors give information about the AGV
position deviations and updates the odometer distance counting as the magnets are passed.
All this combined makes a system that can guide vehicles with the help of
small magnets installed along the guide path, in the floor. A pair of magnets for every five
to ten meters of AGV guide path is normally required. Magnets can easily be installed in
wood floors and other types of environment not well suited for guide wire installations.
The Magnet-Gyro guidance system has higher cost for the onboard
navigation compared with wire guided systems but the cost of installation of guidance wire

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is reduced. Cost of onboard navigation is less compared to laser guidance system. The
magnets in the floor may collect small magnetic particles in the environment; this will
however not cause any big problem under normal conditions.
The gyro sensor is a solid state, single axis, and angular rate sensor. The
gyro sensor gives direction of the vehicle and provides an output voltage proportional to
the rate of turn at its sensitive axis. The gyro sensor uses the Coriolis effect to detect
angular rate.
The magnet sensor is microcomputer based and is using hall elements to
detect magnetic field from magnets. The magnet sensor detects small magnets installed in
the floor with high accuracy. The magnet sensor gives X and Y coordinates of the AGV
when updating on magnets.
The magnets are rare earth type and normally 10 mm in diameter and 15
mm long. They are installed in a drilled hole in the floor and covered with epoxy giving a
smooth and flat floor surface. The distance between the magnets in the floor is depending
on the type of vehicle and accuracy demands. Typical is to install a pair of magnets every
five to ten meters, and after a programmed turn perhaps closer.


Where and When Do Accidents Occur?
Before considering how to approach the problem of safety, it is necessary to
consider where and when accidents happen.
It has been found that a large proportion of accidents occur during non-
standard situations. The first example is where personnel are in areas which are totally
forbidden. This may be due to curiosity, because they are going to speak a friend or
because they are taking a short cut.
Other accidents occur during breakdown situations. Typically a service
engineer might be working on a breakdown. He has been told that everything must be
running by the morning. However, he is still at it late at night. He is tired and his reactions
are slow. He makes a wrong electrical connection and suddenly the AGV starts to move.
This is the type of accident, which has occurred at many places.
Other accidents occur due to human fallibility. For ex., if a manual
operation has not been carried out correctly; perhaps a load is misplaced on a carrier or
verbal instructions have not been understood.
Lastly, accidents occur due to product failure. This can be the result of the
AGV not performing correctly due to programming or component failure. It might also be
due to safety devices not functioning properly.
4.1 Safety Considerations for AGV Systems: -
There are four basic categories to consider regarding the safety of
Automated Guided Vehicle Systems: -

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 Training
 Procedures.
 System specifications.
 AGV specifications.

1.) Training: -
All persons involved with AGVs should receive adequate training. These include: -
1) Maintenance personnel. 2) Operators. 3) Supervisors 4) Management.
Anybody who is entering the area where AGVs are being used should also
be included, such as plant designers, contractors and visitors. The required level of training
may be small but should be properly established.
2.) Procedures: -
Written standard procedures regarding the safe operation of the AGV
system are essential. These procedures will ensure a consistent standard and provide a
checklist for management. This is parallel to standard procedures in other aspects of
business management.
3.) System Specifications: -
The type of AGV system will have a strong influence on the safety
specifications. Originally, AGVs were used mostly in warehouses involving a few
personnel. Today, the fastest growth is in AGV systems used in assembly areas where there
are many people and correspondingly higher risks. The areas in which AGV will operate
can be divided into three alternative types as follows: -
Closed Zones: - Some warehouse systems can be considered as closed zones with no
people at all. It is then possible to stop people entering the operating area by the use of
fencing and the use of pressure sensitive mats or light beams at entrances. Even so, it is
difficult to count people entering and leaving closed zones and difficult to know if
somebody has been left inside.
Mixed Zones: - These are areas where there may be a limited number of personnel. These
may be pedestrians, people working on machines or driving manual vehicles. Restricted
access should be enforced so that only trained personnel are present.
Open Zones: - Open zones exist wherever AGVs are working in open factory areas
alongside other production processes. Historically, the open zone system is the area where
the greatest number of accidents has occurred.
Well-designed systems should take into account the following: -
• Layout: - A good layout will ensure that there are no trapping points such as with narrow
aisles where pedestrians and AGVs are in the same area.
• Lighting: - Lighting should be to a good level with no dark patches.
• Interfacing Traffic: - This may need similar control to road traffic.
• Warning Signs: - These should be clear well lit and at the right height.
• Vehicle Breakdown: - This must be allowed for in the design of operating systems.
• Computer Programming Integrity: - This must be of a high order.
4.) AGV Specifications: -
The specifier should consider the following points with regard to safety: -

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1) Warning lights: - these are most desirable on moving vehicles and should be visible all-
2) Audible signals: - these are useful and important at blind corners.
3) Brakes: - these must be of high integrity.
4) The load: - this must be secure so hat it will not move under emergency braking or
5) The computer program: -this must be of high integrity. The hardware must not be
affected by voltage variations or electrical interference.
6) Color: - A- bright color is easier to see than dark one.
7) Stop buttons: - The emergency stop buttons must be accessible from all sides of the
8) Non contact sensing devices: - Non contact sensors such as infrared or ultrasonic
detectors have the advantage of being able to sense a considerable distance in front of
the path of the vehicle. They are normally used as the first line of defense to slow the
machine down. Following things must be taken into consideration: -
• Some systems are affected by environmental noise such as from pneumatics and
magnetic or radio interference.
• The sensing field can be over a wide or narrow angle in front of the vehicle as shown
in fig 4.1. If it is very wide it will give somer protection against cornering and crabwise
movement of the AGV. However, it may also be affected by other AGVs passing in the
opposite direction and by objects on the side of the path of the vehicle. A narrow angled
beam will avoid these problems but can still create difficulty when an AGV approaches a
wall before cornering (fig. 4.2) and when it is arriving at a loading point.
9) Contact sensors: - These are limited in their size and as a result in their sensing field.
After a contact sensor has operated, the AGV must stop before it can cause an accident.
In worst condition, a loaded AGV going at a certain speed will have a maximum
associated stopping distance. The contact sensor should have built in overtravel to
allowlforothis topping distance, i.e. the distance between operation of the sensor and it
finally being squashed flat must be greater than the maximum stopping distance of the
AGV. It is also desirable that the sensor should not have sharp edges, which will cause cuts
or bruising if pressed in this way through human contact.
Many AGVs in use today use a suspended skirt as a bumper. The types of
designs generally preferred are: -
1) The bumper is held up by wires, which are connected to interlock switches inside the
2) An alternative design uses a photoelectric cell on the AGV reflecting off a disc on the
inside of the skirt.
3) Pressure sensitive bumpers use intrinsic fiber optic sensor created by bending glass
fiber at regular predetermined intervals, achieving the phenomenon known as micro-
bending loss. Thus a displacement of only 0.03mm will switch off 95% of the light which
is passing through. The fiber optic system can then be compared with a photoelectric

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5.1 General characteristic features of the vehicles :-
These vehicles feature a full function microprocessor controller on-board
the vehicle. The controller automatically activates and monitors all vehicle electronic and
mechanical components. All on-board I/O is also processed by the controller which
handles photo-eyes, limit switches, safety sensors and serial communications.
These vehicles are designed to provide full personnel protection which
includes safety devices, flashing warning lights and audible horn, tactile bumpers,
emergency stop buttons, key operated lockout switch and non-contact object sensors.
These vehicles include a full complement of detailed multi-level diagnostics
of vehicle components and functions through the on-board display panel. This easy-to-read
diagnostic system allows fast error detection and correction.
These vehicles use the most reliable on-board and stationary controllers
available today - proven through years of service, in vehicles worldwide. The vehicles wire
or non-wire guidance provides safe, accurate guide path tracking. Continuous RF
communication between the vehicle and the central controller allows constant monitoring
of vehicle position and functions.
Easily accessibie mechanical and electrical components simplify vehicle
maintenance. Removable panels expose electrical controls while extensive use of common
standardized components and quick disconnects minimizes service downtime.

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Three battery options are available for the vehicle: standard lead-acid and
sealed lead-acid and NiCad. Both lead-acid bettery options provide enough power for a
minimum 8 hours of continuous operation and can be replenished through a battery
exchange or on-board charging.
Manual Operation
The Modular Vehicle allows the flexibility to transfer, lift or pick and drop
loads manually with the operator pendant. The operator pendant in the manual mode
regulates all vehicle forward and reverse travel, and pick and drop functions.
5.2 The New Revolutionary SGV-2000: -
The vehicle developed by FMC Company has latest features arid is cost
effective. The Vehicle starts with a standard control cabinet design concealing the latest
electronic controllers and guidance systems along with the vehicle's battery. The rear of the
vehicle can be fitted with a variety of attachments depending on the application. FMC
currently offers six vehicle configurations illustrated below.

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Automatically Guided Vehicle System

Characteristic Features of the Vehicle: -

o Large single front dive wheel capable of handling up io a 4000lb (1800Kg) load.
o Modular designed upper control cabinet to contain all electronics, lower cabinet for
o Front of the vehfcle stays as is for all applications, the rear changes for lift, roller
deck, etc.

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Automatically Guided Vehicle System

FMC designed 486 processor allows for the following features:
o Off the shelf RF modem card for reliable communication.
o Steer encoder for self callibrating, accurate steer/drive position feedback.
o New laser guidance with a 115ft (35m) range requiring fewer targets to navigate
o User-friendly, menu driven 1/4 VGA operator screen.
o RS232 port on the display to download directly from your laptop PC the latest
software, or download vehicle code directly from the host computer, via the RF
modem card.
o New A+ code to move the vehicle around the plant, easily adjusted, quick to install.
o Works with new Windows NT® platform host computer.
o Communicates to host via new 2.4 GHz wireless LAN RF communication

5.3 ATLIS hospital vehicle: -

The ATLIS hospital vehicle provides transportation of materials to fulfill
variety of operational and support functions in a hospital. The automated guided vehicles
are battery powered, independently mobile vehicles, which pick up, carry, and deliver
hospital carts, including dietary trays, surgical supplies, linens, trash, and surgical waste.
The essence of the system is a central computer that communicates with each vehicle,
eliminating the need for dedicated, full-time operators.
Features: -
1. Central computer control
a. Cart security b. Dynamic vehicle rerouting
c. Delivery reports d. Automatic charging
2. Personnel protection
a. Bumpers b. Non-contact sensors c. Warning lights and horns
3. NiCad batteries
a. Short charge cycles b. Long !ife
c. Minimal maintenance d. No ventilation requirements

5.4 ABR Batch Retort Vehicle:

The ABR vehicle is designed to transfer pallets of various- mater between

other types of automated; machinery. One example of this integration is the transfer of
food between processing machinery such as massive pressure cookers in the food industry.
While interfacing the ABR vehicle is sometimes faced with steam, wet dripping pallets,
and wet floors. For these reasons, the vehicle is equipped with gasketted stainless steel
body panels giving the vehicle wash-down capability. variable speed, powered conveyor
deck resides on top of the vehicle for automatic transfer of either one or two loads.

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Automatically Guided Vehicle System

Hidden beneath the conveyer deck, the chassis features a drain pan with a remote drain
cock, to keep both the vehicle and floor clean in case of a messy load. Other features
include zinc-plated casters, splash proof motors, and splash proof external buttons and
switches. A clear, flexible membrane covers the operators panel for waterproofing, while a
sheet of plastic provides a water resistant barrier between the floor and the various
guidance antennas.
Features: -
1. Fully automatic operation
2. 4000 lb. (1800kg) capacity
3. Dual load handling
4. Wash-down capability
5. Tight turning radius
6. 360° personnel protection
7. Full-function manual mode
8. Stainless steel components
9. Superior serviceability


AGVs are being widely used in manufacturing as well as non

manufacturing areas where timely, orderly and frequent transportation of materials is
required. In India also AGVs are being used in semi automated production shops at a
defense production unit. When coupled with an automated stores AGVs can be very
effectively used for placing order directly from production area for bringing parts and
storing them back automatically.

1) Engineering Advances, July 1997
2) Automation In Production - By Mikell P. Groover.
3) www. howstuffworks.com
4) www.google.com

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