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What is what in the driverless world?

26 Jul 2018
Samuel Alexandersson

Rapid development in the industry makes this a hard question to answer. Join us for a ride in a world full of acronyms and expressions.

New vehicles, new names

The acronym AGV, short for automated guided vehicles, has been used for decades. However, in the last fifteen years, there has been an explosion of new types of driverless vehicles for the industrial and logistics sectors. You still find many AGVs out there, but also carts, mobile robots and automated lift trucks.

Having said that, the similarities are greater than the differences. No driver, central control and the ability to send and receive information are still characteristic features of automated guided vehicles.

Examples of definitions

Let’s take a look at some of the most common acronyms and expressions in the world of automated guided vehicles.


What is what in the driverless worldAGV – Automated (or Automatic) Guided Vehicle. A driverless vehicle for predictable travel routes and efficient movements of items in manufacturing and logistics. Based on a customized or standardized (e.g., lift truck) vehicle platform.

AGVS – Automated Guided Vehicle System. A system with a number of AGVs.

AGC – Automated Guided Cart or just Cart. A vehicle with basic functionality (carry or draw loads) and simple navigation (magnetic tape).

LGV – Laser Guided Vehicle. AGV guided by laser technology. Kollmorgen (NDC) was the inventor of laser-guided vehicles in the early 1990s.

AMR – Autonomous Mobile Robot. Driverless vehicle equipped with autonomous controller allowing the vehicle to take any travel route. The vehicles are easy to install and suitable where service is more important than productivity.


Automated lift truck. An automated guided vehicle based on a standardized lift truck.

Driverless vehicle/Self-driving vehicle. All vehicles that can be run without workforce in industries and warehouses. The automotive industry uses the same expression for cars that can drive themselves.

Mobile robots. Think about your robot vacuum cleaner in your home, and you have the idea for a mobile robot. A vehicle with no need for a fixed navigation system.


There are many ways to describe automated guided vehicles, but the fundamental principle remains the same: Efficient and safe movements of materials and goods from A to B.

About the Author

Samuel Alexandersson

What I enjoy most about my work is the constant challenge to be aware of the changing needs of the marketplace. Business is booming and my role of finding opportunities and then addressing them with insights is highly rewarding. As Product Marketing Manager my main work is to analyze and join the dots to successfully segment and position a strong portfolio of products for the future market. A strong source of motivation in this global environment is all the great people you meet. Not only colleagues, but stakeholders from all over the world. Studied: Industrial Management and Engineering, The Faculty of Engineering at Lund University. Samuel can be reached at [email protected]

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