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The history of automated guided vehicles

Read the history of automated guided vehicles in this AGV dictionary article.

The history of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) traces back to the early 1950s, marking the beginning of a significant development in material handling and logistics automation. The first AGV was introduced in 1953 by Barrett Electronics of Northbrook, Illinois. It was a tow truck that followed a wire in the floor instead of a rail. This invention laid the foundation for the development of more sophisticated and versatile AGVs.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the technology behind AGVs developed and the focus shifted from basic tow trucks to more complex vehicles capable of transporting various loads and performing multiple tasks. The introduction of microprocessors and computer technology in the 1970s further improved the capabilities of AGVs, enabling better control and navigation systems.

In the 1980s and 1990s AGV applications were expanded across different industries, from manufacturing to warehousing. The integration of wireless communication and advanced sensor technology during these decades enhanced the flexibility and efficiency of AGVs. They could now navigate more complex routes and interact seamlessly with other automated systems within a facility.

Now AGVs have become increasingly sophisticated, incorporating cutting-edge technologies such as laser-guided navigation, GPS, and artificial intelligence. This has led to the development of self-learning AGVs that can adapt to changing environments and operate with minimal human input. Today, AGVs are an integral part of Industry 4.0, contributing significantly to the automation and optimization of supply chain and manufacturing processes worldwide. This continuous development reflects the AGV’s critical role in advancing automated material handling and logistics, paving the way for more innovative and efficient industrial operations.

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