Recalculating Autonomous Lift Trucks

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If you were at ProMat or Modex about 10 years ago, you may have stopped by a booth where Egemin and MFC Cat, now part of Mitsubishi Logisnext Americas, were exhibiting a hybrid lift truck. Turn the key to the left, and a driver could operate it like any other lift truck; turn the key to the right, and the lift truck operated autonomously like an automatic guided vehicle (AGV), using technology from Egemin. Or something like that. The vehicle had a number of things going for it. For one, it promised labor savings by reducing the number of lift truck drivers a facility might need, while also offering flexibility if another truck needed to be pressed into service during a busy period. For another, AGVs are typically purpose built to solve specific problems in a specific facility. The lift truck in the booth came off the assembly line, like any other lift truck. Mass production is always more affordable than customization. What’s more, the vehicle could be serviced by an existing network of technicians and dealers.

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