Provided by BIS Research
As the world moves towards a dynamic technological age, the factories are moving towards automation for their intra-factory operations such as materials handling. Materials handling is a labor intensive task which takes significant amount of time and hence, costs money. These concerns have led to a revolutionary increase in the global automated guided vehicles market.
Automated guided vehicles (AGV) increase the efficiency of a company without compromising on the quality of the product, with an additional benefit of cost cutting. These are being extensively used across new industries like electrical and electronics, aerospace and defense manufacturing, with their adoption being an evolving phenomenon.
Nicola Tomatis, CEO at Bluebotics SA, provided us with interesting insights into the growth factors and the challenges present in the automated guided vehicles market. The following transcript provides an insightful take on major developments occurring in the AGV industry:
Q. As a pure player in the space of automation how would do you define autonomous guidance vehicles and how are they different from unmanned guidance vehicle?
This is more a matter of habits in different markets. Already AGV is used in different ways. For example, you write about autonomous guidance vehicles, while we use automated guided vehicles. Then, while AGVs are unmanned vehicles per definition, UGVs stands in reality for unmanned ground vehicles and is more used in the defense/military field.
Q. What are the challenges do you think will affect the growth of the market?
In automation, one says in a simplistic way that the costs come 30% from components and 70% from integration. In my opinion, the number one goal should therefore be to reduce the integration costs.
This can be done in two ways:
- By standardizing the interfaces, which would ease the integration of components.
- By providing more flexible technologies making the commissioning easier.
Q. What are the major drivers and opportunities you see that will drive the demand for autonomous guidance vehicles?
Historically, AGVs have been mainly used for two applications: production in the automotive and moving pallets. While automotive is already highly automated, AGVs in the pallet handling (less than 10,000 units per year) only represent less than 1% compared to the manually driven forklifts (1-1.2 million per year), which represents a great potential for growth. Then, e-commerce is for sure a major driver since the demand has increased in double units over the last several years and is expected to continue like this creating enormous needs in term of efficient logistics. Finally, the automation in the production of electronics has the potential to become the next big market to automate after automotive.
Q. The AGV market is segmented based on guidance technology. Which is the most preferred technology and what is their market share compared to other guidance technologies?
BlueBotics provides laser based natural features navigation which probably goes under what you call position guidance (right?). We are convinced that avoiding infrastructure (inductive wire, magnetic tape, painted lines, triangulation reflectors) is an important step in reducing integration costs (especially during commissioning) and should help the market to growth. Additionally, the software tools used for commissioning play an important role in the reduction of the integration costs.
In term of market share, I think magnetic tape + inductive wires still represent about 50%, while laser triangulation is probably by 30-40%, with natural features (vision or laser), taking the rest and growing.
Q. What according to you will be the next big thing that influence the growth of autonomous guidance vehicle market?
Globalization in general, increasing automation in the pallet handling, e-commerce, automation in the electronics production.
Q. What according to you will be the value of the global autonomous guidance vehicle market by 2022?
Difficult to assess.
Assuming today the market is less than 10,000 vehicles per year with an average price of $ 100,000, we have about $1 billion.
Let's imagine that the big forklift suppliers (Toyota, KION, Jungheinrich, Crown, Hystes-Yale) start supplying 10-20% of their forklifts as automated vehicles, we get to 10-20% 1 million vehicles per year representing 100,000-200,000 machines per year. With a reduced average price of $ 40,000, this sums up to $ 4 to 8 billion only for the forklift application. Based on that, the market should easily be more than $ 10 billion by 2022.
Q. What were the total number of autonomous guidance vehicles shipped during 2015 and what volume are you expecting in 2022?
In my knowledge, the world market is today less than 10,000 vehicle per year, but this doesn't take into account Kiva System, who delivers more than 10,000 vehicle per year to Amazon, which shows the enormous potential one has in the emerging markets.
For 2022, I would bet on 100,000 to 300,000 vehicles per year.
You can find a full exhaustive report on the AGV market here. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the key development strategies and market trend dynamics which includes drivers, restraints and opportunities prevailing in the Global AGV Market.
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