As automation in manufacturing and logistics operations modernize, mobile equipment is increasingly being used to aid in material logistics and in the assembly of finished goods. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) can be seen carrying pallets of raw goods to manufacturing cells and then delivering finished goods to inventory or shipping. In modern automotive assembly plants, autonomous vehicles are often outfitted with lifts to position vehicle chassis for easy access, so assemblers can perform their tasks ergonomically. Additionally, mobile machinery now allows manufacturing to be scaled effectively in a smaller footprint, helping to drive long-term costs down.
One of the key challenges in integrating mobile equipment is making the critical data within these systems available so they can be effectively monitored and controlled within the environments they operate. Even the most compact AGV can be a blend of different network technologies so it will be beneficial to understand these technologies so strategies towards making data available can be developed.