Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) vs automated guided vehicles (AGV)

mobile robots

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are two cutting-edge technologies that have revolutionized material handling and transportation within warehouses, factories, and other industrial settings. While both serve similar purposes, they have distinct characteristics and advantages. In this article, we will delve into the definitions, compare the pros and cons, and conclude with insights into when to choose one over the other.

AMRs are self-contained robotic systems equipped with sensors, cameras, and advanced software algorithms that allow them to navigate and perform tasks autonomously. They are designed to transport goods, perform pick-and-place operations, and navigate through dynamic environments without the need for physical infrastructure like wires or tracks.

AGVs are autonomous vehicles that are guided by fixed paths or predetermined routes using infrastructure-based systems like magnetic tape, wires, or guideposts. They are typically used for material transportation within predefined, structured environments such as manufacturing plants and warehouses.

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR)


  • Flexibility: AMRs are incredibly versatile and adaptable to changing environments. They can easily adjust to new layouts, obstacles, and reconfigurations, making them ideal for dynamic environments.
  • No Infrastructure Requirements: Unlike AGVs, AMRs do not require physical infrastructure like magnetic tapes or guideposts. This saves time and money on initial setup and allows for quicker deployment.
  • Collision Avoidance: Advanced sensors and AI algorithms enable AMRs to navigate and avoid collisions with people, equipment, and other obstacles, enhancing safety in shared spaces.
  • Scalability: AMR fleets can be easily expanded or reduced to meet changing operational demands, providing cost-efficiency and scalability.
  • Multi-Purpose Use: AMRs can be employed for various tasks, including picking, packing, and even interacting with other machinery, making them a versatile choice for different applications.


  • Higher Initial Cost: AMRs often come with a higher initial investment due to the advanced technology and sensors required for autonomous navigation.
  • Maintenance Complexity: While AMRs are designed for robustness, their sophisticated systems can require more complex maintenance compared to AGVs.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV)


  • Precise Path Following: AGVs operate with exceptional precision along predetermined paths, making them suitable for applications that require high accuracy and repeatability.
  • Lower Initial Cost: AGVs generally have a lower upfront cost because they rely on fixed infrastructure like magnetic tape or guideposts.
  • Proven Technology: AGV technology has been in use for several decades, making it a well-established and reliable solution for many industries.
  • Simplicity: AGVs are often easier to operate and maintain due to their simpler technology compared to AMRs.


  • Limited Flexibility: AGVs are less adaptable to changes in the environment, requiring infrastructure modifications when the layout or routes change.
  • Collision Risk: Because AGVs follow fixed paths, they may be less agile in avoiding obstacles or unexpected changes in the environment, which can pose safety risks.
  • Scalability Challenges: Expanding or modifying an AGV fleet can be more challenging and costly due to the need to adjust the infrastructure.


The choice between Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) ultimately depends on the specific needs and constraints of your operation.

If you value flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to handle dynamic environments, AMRs are likely the better choice. They excel in scenarios where changes in layout or tasks are frequent, and their ability to avoid collisions in shared spaces enhances safety.

On the other hand, if precision and cost-effectiveness are your primary concerns, AGVs are a solid option. They shine in applications that require highly accurate and repeatable movements along fixed paths.

In practice, some facilities may even benefit from a combination of both technologies. For example, using AMRs for flexible material handling and AGVs for highly structured transportation routes can provide a balanced solution.

Ultimately, the decision should be based on a thorough assessment of your specific operational requirements, budget, and long-term goals. As technology continues to advance, both AMRs and AGVs will likely play pivotal roles in the future of automation, offering tailored solutions for a wide range of industries.