AGV (automated guided vehicle), also known as driverless cart, is a sub-category product in the industrial robot industry. Generally speaking, AGV refers to the robot equipped with electromagnetic or optical automatic guidance device, which can drive automatically according to the prescribed guidance route and complete the transportation operation independently. In 1953, the first AGV was developed abroad, while the first AGV in China came in 1976. Although it was 23 years late, the development speed of the AGV in domestic market was not slow at all.
According to statistics, China's AGV market has maintained a relatively high growth rate in recent years. In 2016the market growth rate reached 160%, and 94% in 2017. Although the growth rate has slowed down in the past two years, China's AGV industry has transformed from a heavily dependence on imports to a high-tech industry that owns core technology R&D and deep integration of multiple scenarios. The Chinese market has also become one of the largest AGV robot use markets in the world.
At present, AGV is mainly applied in the fields of automobile, 3C manufacturing, and e-commerce, among which the automobile industry is the major battlefield of AGV with relatively high intelligence, which also directly affects the scale and development direction of AGV industry. In 2019, the auto market entered a weak period, and the global demand for similar products drop by 8% to 10%, which gave the AGV industry a blow. The growth of the 3C manufacturing industry represented by smartphones has slowed down, which has compressed the AGV market. However, technological innovation always brings new strength and market. Almost at the same time, 5g technology and machine vision ushered in the stage of commercialization, making the AGV market based on big data and deep learning begin to release huge development potential.
The development of 5g technology makes it possible for AGV robot cooperation technology with multi-regional and large-scale scheduling. Before that, some people have already proposed the remote control operation of robot, but the remote control operation has prime requirements for the latency and capacity of the network. The innovation of 5g has created conditions for the remote cooperation of robots. 5g technology can improve the cooperation ability of multiple robots and build flexible scenes. In the future, the combination of AI and 5g will promote the rapid development of robot industry.
Labor force is also an important factor affecting the development of AGV market. According to the data, since 2012, the total number of labor force aged from 16 to 59 in China has decreased year by year, and in 2018, it has dropped to 900 million. While the labor force has decreased, the labor cost has increased by about 11% per year. On the contrary, the cost of industrial robots is being reduced by 10% every year. Using AGV has become the primary method for many enterprises to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
After the rapid development of AGV industry in the first few years, both the supply side and the demand side have changed, and the demand for manufacturing end is gradually released. It is urgent for AGV industry to rapidly complete market segmentation and market education. Therefore, only by focusing on technological innovation, improving product stability, reducing costs and establishing competitive advantages can enterprises maintain their sustainable development.