The global market for automated guided vehicles (AGVs) is set to reach $2.3 billion by 2024, a new study says, showing that the sector still has plenty of life despite the rise of competing warehouse automation tools like robotic picking arms and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
The AGV market stood at just $0.83 billion in 2015, but is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.4 percent between 2016 and 2024, according to the Albany, N.Y.-based research firm Transparency Market Research (TMR).
Driving that growth is a consolidated landscape of vendors who have been committing sizable research and development funds to improve robotic flexibility and safety, TMR said.According to TMR, well-entrenched players in that landscape include: Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, JBT Corp., Oceaneering AGV Systems, Toyota Industries Corporation, and Bastian Solutions LLC.
Demand for next-generation AGVs is being led by users in the distribution and logistics sectors, with the hottest growth coming from automotive manufacturing firms in emerging economies, the report said.
AGVs have been extensively used in the safe movement of palletized and non-palletized loads in a range of industries, but they are seeing growing use in trailer loading, raw material handling and transportation, and finished product handling, deployed in order to complement the functions of conveyors used on shop floors where high volumes of repetitive tasks are involved.
These expanded applications are addressing users' increasing focus on worker safety, improved productivity, and better accuracy. By integrating AGVs with warehouse control system (WCS) software, they are able to reach these goals even in inclement weather conditions and while handling hazardous materials, TMR said.
One aspect holding back this growth is the high cost of deploying AGV technology in warehouses and in converting prototypes into full production, according to TMR.