Design and operational issues in AGV-served manufacturing systems Academic Article uri icon


  • Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) systems are already in widespread use and their importance for material handling is expected to grow rapidly. The advantages that such systems can offer include increased flexibility, better space utilization, improved factory floor safety, reduction in overall operating cost, and easier interface with other automated systems. This survey paper focuses on design and operational issues that arise in AGV systems. The objectives of the paper are to unify various lines of research related to AGVs and to suggest directions for future study. We consider problems arising in flowpath design, fleet sizing, job and vehicle scheduling, dispatching and conflict-free routing. Flowpath design problems address computationally intractable issues in the physical layout of a single loop and complex networks. Transportation and related models, waiting line analysis and simulation approaches are used to address fleet sizing questions. Scheduling issues focus on three flowpath layouts. In line layouts, the most important issues include finding an efficient job sequencing algorithm and identifying optimal AGV launch times. In loop layouts, issues such as joint scheduling of the job and AGV schedules, interface with a larger manufacturing system, dynamic job arrivals, and the location of the AGV parking area, are important. For complex network layouts, joint scheduling, heuristic dispatching rules, and conflict-free routing of AGVs, are considered. We identify the inefficiencies that result from addressing these issues in isolation, suggesting the need for integration. We also provide a summary of the most important open research issues related to all the above topics.

published proceedings

  • Annals of Operations Research

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Ganesharajah, T., Hall, N. G., & Sriskandarajah, C.

citation count

  • 161

complete list of authors

  • Ganesharajah, Tharma||Hall, Nicholas G||Sriskandarajah, Chelliah

publication date

  • January 1998