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How to retrofit AGVs with SLAM Navigation Solution? 

Magnetic tape Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) were once quite the effective solution for material handling. These categories of AGVs navigate by following magnetic tape infrastructure laid on the ground in a rigid manner. Although magnetic tape AGVs has its market, particularly for production facilities with a fixed trajectory, these category of AGVs has it’s shortcomings, namely:

  1. Costly and High Maintenance: Magnetic tape AGVs wear out easily and require routine maintenance. Cost of the magnetic tapes can be expensive overtime and it requires valuable work time to lay out the tape especially in large environments. 
  2. Inflexible, unable to change trajectories flexibly: When an AGVs route changes, one has to manually re-fit the new magnetic tape infrastructure on the floor. Changes cannot be made flexibly and thus can be quite inconvenient. 
  3. Rigid and Unintelligent: Magnetic tape AGVs have no sense of awareness of their surroundings. When faced with an obstacle, a magnetic tape AGV is unable to bypass it and the obstacle has to be physically removed for it to continue its mission.
  4. Incapable of achieving higher levels of autonomy: Magnetic tape AGVs have a larger error due to factors such as magnetic tape wear and inaccurate stop points, making them unsuitable for autonomous applications such as material feeding and receiving. 

If you are currently using magnetic tape AGVs and are looking for an upgrade in technology, the best alternative is SLAM navigation solution to improve your current system to something that requires less maintenance, more flexible and convenient. 

Retrofitting old technology with SLAM Navigation solution:

What is SLAM Navigation? 

SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localization And Mapping. It is a technology that utilizes sensors to allow a system to build a map of an environment and localize itself within said environment. 

Indoor Robotic Vehicles most commonly utilize Lidar, Camera and/or IMU sensors for this particular purpose. Each SLAM technology has its shortcomings, with Visual SLAM systems tending to get lost easier and Lidar SLAM systems being more expensive. Selecting the right solution is crucial for your application, typically a sensor fusion solution is most robust and reliable. 

TVC Nav is our proprietary sensor fusion SLAM system that utilizes a combination of Lidar, IMU, wheel encoder and camera sensors to achieve a cost effective and accurate (up to 1cm) solution. 

If you are looking to build an Autonomous mobile robot, or are hoping to upgrade your existing inflexible magnetic tape AGVs to something more intelligent and robust, check out how we can help you upgrade your technology with 3 simple steps: 

How it works:

1) Hardware Consultation

Equip your AGV with sensors and a processor for it to run TVC Nav. Our team of consultants will advise you based on your application, accuracy and budget requirements the suitable Lidar sensors. We will also evaluate your AGVs current motors, communication protocol and steer type and provide necessary consultation. 

2) Calibration, Testing & Tuning

The selecting sensors will be fitted on to your AGV frame, calibrated and tuned to ensure optimal performance. Depending on the motors your AGV is running on, the retrofitted AGV will also be tested and tuned to ensure a smooth navigation. If the hardware components are selected based on our teams recommendation, this step can be completed within 1-2 weeks time. 

3) Training, Mapping & Route Creation. 

Once your vehicle is navigating smoothly, our professional team will train your staff on how to use the newly retrofitted autonomous mobile robot. With our simple User Interface, it should take you no time at all to build a map of your facility, create missions and begin automating your material handling processes. 

Our team at Techvico has a collective of more than a decade of experience in the field of SLAM and mechatronics engineering. Take a look at our newest case study and see how we helped our customer – Thang Long retrofit their outdated magnetic tape AGV. 

With our proprietary, robots TVC NAV solution, Thang Long’s AGV is able to consistently precisely dock to its designated pallet area to perform autonomous material handling movements. 

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