A swarm of robots are overtaking John Deere’s Horicon, Wis., plant.
Sometime this year, a fleet of new-generation automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are scheduled to begin zipping through the lanes of the company’s assembly line, hauling parts and materials across the plant in an efficient, automated buzz.
On the face of it, there is nothing too exciting about this news. AGVs are nothing new to the market; they have been scurrying around plants in one form or another for decades already.
But none of them has ever been quite like these.
John Deere’s fleet will mark the latest deployment of OTTO 1500 —a fully self-driving, autonomous robotic vehicle built by a new player in the space, Kitchener, Ont., Canada-based Clearpath Robotics.
The machines are capable of transporting up to 3,000 pounds of goods through congested plant and warehouse environments without the need for drivers, supervision, or guidance infrastructure.
That last detail is what makes this technology exciting.