Toyota Forklift has unveiled two new autonomous warehouse vehicles, developed in partnership with Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company.
The “Center-Controlled Rider” and “Core Tow Tractor Automated Forklifts” were designed for manufacturing facilities and distribution center operations where tasks are highly standardized, repetitive, and easily accomplished without the need of advanced human management.
The vehicles use ANT software from BlueBotics. ANT is like an operating system for autonomous mobile robots or automated guided vehicles.
The two new Toyota vehicles are described as AGVs but they appear to autonomous capabilities.
AGVs and robotic forklifts are increasingly becoming a mainstay in manufacturing facilities and distribution center operations where tasks are highly standardized, repetitive, and easily accomplished without need of advanced human management.
While some AGV technologies like wire- and track-guided systems are at use in many locations today, and play an intricate role in improving efficiency, new technologies are making AGV forklifts and AGV pallet jacks an even more integral solution in current material handling operation.
Toyota says AGVs will gain widespread use as material handling operations discover more innovative ways to integrate warehouse technologies.
With this in mind, the company outlines its own categorisations and options for driverless transport systems can help material handling companies to decide why and when an investment in an automated forklift system can lead to increased efficiency.
Toyota’s three main categorisations are:
Vision Guided Vehicles – VGVs, such as Bastian Solutions’ Pallet Truck VGV and Tugger VGV, integrate easily into your existing infrastructure by using 3D modelling technology to build a map of your facility and operate within it – no wire guidance needed.
Wire, RFID, and Tape AGVs – These wire guided and similar driverless vehicles follow a specified path generally built into or taped to the floor of the facility. This technology is also used for Tugger AGVs and Cart AGVs.
Laser AGVs – Laser AGVs respond to multiple fixed points identified by mounted or integrated laser technology, allowing for a more flexible integration than Wire AGVs.