New Paths for Automatic Guided Vehicles

ASTM International is developing a proposed standard that will help manufacturers of automatic guided industrial vehicles evaluate their products. In addition to manufacturers, vehicle buyers will use this standard (WK48955: Test Method for Docking and Navigation for Driverless Automatic Guided Industrial Vehicles) to conduct their own tests on potential purchases.

ASTM member Roger Bostelman is an advanced mobility research engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Bostelman says that AGVs offer excellent automated material handling capabilities and are being used in manufacturing and healthcare, among other industries. The proposed standard will pave the way for continued technological advancements for AGVs.

"Future AGVs and mobile robots will not only provide material handling capabilities for relatively large corporations but also small and medium-sized corporations where unstructured environments are more prevalent," says Bostelman. "Vehicles will be required to adapt to a variety of facilities with flooring, lighting, structures and other possible issues for vehicle technology, such as increased human presence."

In addition, future AGVs will carry robot arms and provide tool changes for assembly and other pick-and-pace tasks.

The Subcommittee on Docking and Navigation (F45.02) is developing WK48955. AGV and mobile robot manufacturers and users are encouraged to join the committee in developing this and other standards. The committee also welcomes researchers of, and testing facilities for, these systems.

In addition, Committee F45 is co-sponsoring a workshop, "Autonomous Industrial Vehicles: From the Laboratory to the Factory Floor," on May 30 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. For more information on the workshop, go here.

CONTACT Technical Information: Roger V. Bostelman, National Institute of Standards and Technology • Gaithersburg, Md. • tel +1.301.975.3426 | ASTM Staff: Pat Picariello • tel +1.610.832.9720

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