It would seem certain that as the air cargo industry searches for ways to improve the level of its material handling efficiency, the automated guided vehicle will be an important element in the productivity equation that facilities planners will attempt to solve. If this unique material handling tool is to be effectively used in this equation, its basic technology, its special utility as a freight handler, and its place in an integrated system must be clearly understood by those considering its use. This paper will address that need and provide the technical information necessary to the proper evaluation of the AGV and its use in the air-cargo depot.
The paper begins with an overview of the basic technology of the vehicle and its guidance system. It will cover the varieties of vehicle applications for which they are most commonly suited A general discussion of AGV control systems will follow, with special emphasis on control hierarchy and examples of integration of vehicle control techniques within an automated material handling system.