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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, autonomous mobile robot (AMR) and autonomic guided vehicle (AGV) were changing the landscape across many industries - including healthcare, factory, warehouse, logistics and others. Undoubtedly, AMR and AGV can help deal with massive staffing shortages, and the need for social distancing in the post-pandemic era.

Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) is a vehicle that uses on-board sensors and processors to autonomously move materials without the need for physical guides or markers. The AMR’s main components include controller, computing unit, battery, motors, sensors and camera. Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) is an industrial vehicle that can be pre-programmed to transport goods in a warehouse, manufacturing and other environment. The AGV’s main components include traction motor, traction batteries, industrial PC (or on-board controller) and payload interface.

The greatest advantage of AMR over AGV is that AMR provides alternative navigation options. An AMR navigates using a predefined map and plans its own routes to the destination. It can detect obstacles similar to an AGV, but it is slightly smarter because it can avoid the obstacles by navigating around it. Therefore, AMR robot is considered more flexible because it can change its path dynamically with less effort. AMR robot is perceived to be much more costly compared to an AGV, in reality, the AMR could be more cost effective due to its flexibility and ease to set up.

AMR vs AGV – what is the difference?

AMR AGV
Navigation Using technology such as LiDAR sensors & Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), an AMR will determine the best route between waypoints Traditionally guided by magnetic strips or wires installed on or under the floor
Responsiveness AMR will automatically sense and avoid obstacles and blocked paths to find the best route to its next waypoint AGV are unable to adapt to changes in the environment or obstacles left in their path
Flexibility Easily be remapped and taught new destinations and goals New tracks and infrastructure to be installed
Deployment This can vary, but great AMR can be unboxed and put to work in less than 15 minutes Requires installation of navigation guides, sometimes requiring substantial facility renovation
Expandability Everything is managed on a fleet software package Possible to add new tracks and new units to it
Accessibility Waypoint AMR can be set up and reconfigured by the workforce on the job AGV typically require experts to set up or reconfigure the system

AMR with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. AI will become an integral part of setting up and using AMRs, simplifying their deployment process and improving their workflow. Some AMRs are taking those smarts to the next level with artificial intelligence coupled with strategically placed cameras that function as extended robot sensors. With AI, AMRs can learn to adapt their behavior appropriately, even before they enter an area. This means they can avoid high-traffic areas during specific times, including when materials are regularly delivered and transferred by fork truck, or when large crowds of workers are present during breaks or shift changes.

AMR/AGV Controller

  • DRPC-230-ULT5
  • DRPC-130-AL
  • uIBX-250-BW

The DRPC-230-ULT5 could endure up to 70°C operating temperature to deliver constant performance with CPU running steadily above its base frequency. The model with expansion layer provides rich I/O and PCIe x4 signal to support add-ons such as IEI acceleration cards (Mustang-V100-MX8 or Mustang-V100-MX4), opening the door to faster deployments of AI inference systems. The DRPC-230-ULT5 can connect to camera for visual recognition. It enables machine learning by using a variety of training models to simulate and infer the status or appearance of objects. For example, the inference system with the video analysis model can perform obstacle analysis for AMR.

It is not hard to find Embedded Systems with high operating temperatures on the market. Some vendors claim their products could endure up to 75°C or more. This is the truth, but not the whole story.

We had conducted competitive product analysis under IEI’s standard testing procedures and conditions. The result showed that indeed competitor products could still work in high operating temperature, but CPU had a hard time maintaining its frequency, and in extreme cases it was even running below base frequency.

Applications

Hospital

  • Hospital material transport
  • Reduce the heavy workload of nursing staffs
  • Reduce the risk of cross-infection

Factory

  • Handle large amounts of materials
  • Pick up goods
  • Improve production efficiency and assembly quality

Distribution Center

  • Carry shelves
  • Drive the flow of various goods
  • Create changeable storage spaces

Office

  • Designate mailed goods, letters and garbage
  • Reduce the use of manpower

E-Commerce

  • Reduce the labor intensity of workers
  • Important tool for moving goods
  • Important tool for sorting goods

Benefits of AMR

Product Selection

Video

IEI Autonomous Mobile Robotic and e-Mobility Solution

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