For manufacturers of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), making their products suitable for mid-sized and smaller users has long been an important objective. But cost and the complexity of installation have continued to keep most AGVs out of smaller buyers' hands. JBT Corp. believes its brand-new JayBoT will bring a simple, affordable solution to previously underserved markets.
The compact streamlined vehicle, which made its debut at ProMat, is a good fit for operations that currently use manual forklifts and require one to four AGVs. It navigates along predefined paths by using 360-degree real-time imaging of its environment and comparing scanned data against a baseline map—a technology JBT calls "precise natural environment navigation." (The vehicle is also available with laser navigation.) Safety is assured through a 360-degree "safe zone" around the vehicle, including warning and stop zones.
One of the most unusual aspects of the JayBoT is that it doesn't use a central system manager to control traffic and communicate with the AGVs; instead, the intelligence system is on board the vehicles. They "talk" directly to each other and to external devices and equipment. The AGVs can work with any type of battery as well as fuel cells. Batteries can be swapped manually, or operators can use opportunity charging.