Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Mobile Robots Improve Material Handling Efficiencies

By Rob Sullivan, President and CEO, AutoGuide Mobile Robots

The growth of the autonomous mobile robots market is unstoppable.

warehouse robotics market revenue 2015-2020

Mobile robots utilize lean manufacturing to eliminate waste and ensure continuous process improvement. Mobile robots reduce walk time, improve safety, and guarantee zero-defect production.

global agv market share

Flexibility and Reliability Ensures Continuous Process Improvement
Whether named autonomous mobile robots or AGVs (automated guided vehicles), Industry 4.0 initiatives all include the requirement of flexible programming and a modular design.

Different vehicle and load handling frame configurations accommodate specific handling needs including the driver platform trail frame and tiller handle controls, straddle, or counterbalance fork attachments and various unit-load attachments such as conveyors and lift decks.

warehouse logistics agv rev and ship

The unique value proposition of mobile robot solutions is revealed best in the guidance system. The SurePath guidance system, for example, is extremely accurate and reliable in both manufacturing and warehouse environments.

SurePath natural feature system is easy and affordable to install and modify; it requires no physical guide path system.

Users simply drive a vehicle through the facility to map the environment and teach it the anticipated routes. The mapping data is automatically uploaded wirelessly to a single PC or server where it can be modified and integrated for the precise operation including pick-drop points, intersection control, and the preferred routing logic.

The system controls traffic and monitors the status and exact location of each vehicle in real-time. It can also be connected to wearables, line-side pushbuttons, sensors and a WMS (Warehouse Management System) for automatic dispatching and order functions.

Routes are easily modified by simply drawing a different path on a user interface and sending it to the vehicles. To expand the system into other parts of the facility, users simply map the new area with one of the vehicles and add the desired path.

The vehicle travels up to 4 MPH and performs precise reversing maneuvers to accommodate automatic trailer hitching and unhitching functions, loads up to 10,000 pounds seamlessly with no magnetic tape or RFID tags required, making installation and modifications more flexible and at a lower cost.

Ready to Deliver

One of the frequent complaints heard about AGVs and mobile robots is a slow and long delivery time. Few mobile robot manufacturers maintain rapid delivery models, causing customers delivery time of vehicles often in excess of 180 days.

The lost productivity and improved throughput data will fall short if the product cannot be delivered in a timely manner: 30 days maximum. Furthermore, delays will detrimentally impact the realization of a rapid ROI (return on investment).

AutoGuide’s mobile robots are manufactured at a vertically integrated assembly plant in Georgetown, KY allowing the vehicle to be delivered in weeks instead of many months.

Rob Sullivan, President and CEO, AutoGuide Mobile Robots
Rob Sullivan, President and CEO, AutoGuide Mobile Robots

Author Profile: Rob Sullivan, AutoGuide Mobile Robots’ President and CEO, is a proven robotics and automation leader with a solid track record of pioneering innovative products. With over 30 years of career advancement in high technology companies ranging from burgeoning start-ups to established multinational corporations, he offers a rare combination of business leadership and engineering expertise that resulted in the development and commercialization of numerous cutting-edge products. Sullivan has built and fostered high performing teams and outsource partnerships that delivered quality products faster than industry norms. He holds 46 patents pertaining to robotics and automation utilized in manufacturing, distribution, and logistics. Sullivan can be reached at