And, then of course, there are the automated guided vehicles (AGV) being integrated into distribution centres. These driver-less, unattended vehicles are being used for tasks typically performed by forklifts, conveyor systems or manual carts.
The forklift AGV is designed to perform the same functions a human-operated forklift performs, transporting large volumes of parcels throughout the facility in a repetitive manner. Software and sensors guide the movement of these self-propelled vehicles, which are designed for intelligent routing capacities and to avoid collisions.
The implementation of AGVs could potentially eliminate the need for distribution centres to source or train skilled labour for these monotonous and manual tasks, and allow trained operators to focus on other functions. AGVs offer the hub improved worker safety and resource utilisation and are a predictive and reliable solution for repetitive tasks.
Australia Post, for example, has deployed 23 AGVs in its new facility outside of Brisbane. Its robotic forklifts work seamlessly 24 hours a day to move cages of parcels around the site with no human intervention. They have also started to have a role in the inbound process by handling out-of-gauge items.