The trend towards more automated, intelligent and interconnected systems is often referred to as Smart Industry or Industry 4.0.
AGVs fit perfectly into this trend, in the first place because they operate fully autonomously.
They connect to all other systems, such as the traffic management system, on its turn connected to the plant’s Manufacturing Execution System.
An almost unlimited amount of data, such as the AGV’s live positions, battery status and readings from their scanners and sensors, can be made available for data gathering software, for example via OPC UA.
In this way, a fleet of AGVs equipped with state-of-the-art sensors can – besides their primary task – serve as a troop of ‘explorers’, constantly collecting data on its trips through the plant, to feed a constantly updated model or visualization of the state of the plant.
The collected information helps operators and plant managers to make better decisions based on actual and historical data. All this collected operational information is kept within the plant’s own protected network – so cyber-security is assured.