Automated warehouse (paper) with robotic forklift

Automatic Guided Vehicles

Automated warehouse (paper) with robotic forklift

Automatic guided vehicles are used to reduce manufacturing and labor costs while increasing productivity and efficiency. They were first introduced in the 1950s and were then guided by a wire. Automatic guided vehicles are becoming increasingly popular for use in factories and warehouses.

What Are Automatic Guided Vehicles?

Automatic guided vehicles are used to move and transport goods. The goods are usually transported on a trailer that is attached to back of the automatic guided vehicle. These vehicles navigate along a defined area or may be computer programmed. There are three types of automatic vehicles including unit load, tugger and forklifts. Less expensive automatic guided vehicles usually use a magnetic pull to be guided. This guidance allows them to only travel in that direction. Newer automatic guided vehicles may be called a laser guided. There are several different types of navigation technology used in order to program the automatic guided vehicle. The guiding technology used includes guide tape, wired, laser target navigation, pulsed lasers and gyroscopic navigation.

What Industries Use Automatic Guided Vehicles?

Automatic guided vehicles are used in a wide variety of industries including metals, manufacturing, assembly, paper and mining. Automatic guided vehicles are also commonly seen on a shop floor retrieving product. Automatic guided vehicles are often used in hospitals, assembly lines and for retrieving product throughout large warehouses. Automatic guided vehicles are generally used in industries where the work tasks can seem repetitive and strenuous. Programming an automatic guided vehicle to do repetitive tasks allows for human power to be conserved and used in better ways. Programming multiple robots and automatic guided vehicles to communicate with one another is another way that factories save on their labor costs.


Automatic guided vehicles can reduce the physical strain on employees in many different ways. It can save people from having to transport goods throughout the warehouse themselves. This prevents physical energy and time from being wasted. These vehicles allow for increase productivity and output automatically. Another benefit of automatic guided vehicles  is that they do not need human contact constantly. This allows automatic guided vehicles to go into dangerous and hazardous areas without putting anyone’s safety at risk. Automatic guided vehicles are becoming increasingly programmable allowing them to communicate with robots. The technology used in automatic guided vehicles is always improving. This allows for greater ease of use, cost-efficiency and productivity.