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Autonomous Wheels vs. AGVs vs. AMRs: Choosing the right technology to automate material handling.

November 28, 2023

In the rapidly evolving landscape of industrial automation, the integration of autonomous technologies has become a defining factor in enhancing efficiency, productivity, and safety. In this article, we will go through the differences between three different mobile robots: AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles), AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots), and's Autonomous Wheels, Genius 2. Each of these technologies plays a role in streamlining operations within various industries, yet they possess distinct characteristics that set them apart. A business's choice between AGVs, AMRs, and Genius 2 is a strategic decision that can significantly impact the organization's operational efficiency and competitiveness. In the upcoming sections, we will delve into the specifics of each technology, unraveling its capabilities, applications, and potential advantages and disadvantages. By the end of this blog post, you will be equipped with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about integrating autonomous solutions into your industrial processes.

What is an Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)?

An AGV is a mobile robot that is designed to move materials and goods within a controlled environment, such as a warehouse, manufacturing facility, or distribution center. AGVs are equipped with guidance systems that allow them to navigate autonomously along predefined paths or routes. They depend on guiding magnetic tapes on the floor and need to be pre-programmed with a specific mission, either electronically or physically. They can only change that path once the program changes.

The first AGV is thought to have appeared about 70 years ago. It is a towing tractor designed to follow overhead wires introduced in 1953 by Barrett Electronics in Illinois. In some ways, the basic concept of that first, reasonably primitive guided vehicle remains - a powered vehicle that follows a predetermined path - although these days, we tend to use computer-programmed paths aided by magnetic tapes, wires embedded in the floor, or laser-based navigation, rather than overhead wires.

Barrett Electronics’ first AGV in 1953 (source image: SpringerLink)

Key characteristics and features of AGVs include:

  1. Guidance Systems: AGVs typically use various guidance systems to navigate, including laser navigation, magnetic tape, vision systems, or other sensors. These systems help AGVs follow specific paths, avoid obstacles, and navigate efficiently.
  2. Industrial Payloads: AGVs can typically carry heavy industrial payloads, making them useful for a wide range of materials handling tasks in manufacturing and distribution. Additionally, they can be equipped with forks, conveyors, or other mechanisms to handle different types of materials.
  3. Automation: AGVs operate autonomously, reducing the need for manual intervention. They can be programmed to follow specific routes, pick up and drop off items at designated locations, and interact with other automation systems in the facility.

What is an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)?

An AMR is a mobile robot that is capable of navigating and moving in its environment without requiring continuous human guidance. AMRs use a combination of sensors, cameras, and advanced algorithms to perceive their surroundings and make decisions about how to navigate in real time.

The first AMRs were Elmer and Elsie, created in 1940 by Dr. W. Grey Walter. They were also called the "tortoises" because of how they looked and moved. Elsie and Elmer consisted of old alarm clocks and war surplus materials. They had a single light or touch sensor hooked up to two different paths, running two other motors acting as two separate neuron brains.

Dr. W. Grey Walter's "Tortoises"

Key characteristics and features of AMRs include:

  1. Autonomy: AMRs operate autonomously, meaning they can navigate and perform tasks without constant human control. They can make decisions based on the information gathered from their sensors.
  2. Navigation: AMRs are equipped with navigation systems that allow them to move through dynamic environments. These systems may include LiDARs, cameras, and other sensors to detect obstacles, map their surroundings, and plan optimal paths.
  3. Flexibility: AMRs are designed to be versatile and adaptable to different tasks and environments. They can be programmed or reconfigured to perform various functions, such as material transport, inventory management, or inspection.
  4. Collaboration: Some AMRs are designed to work collaboratively with humans or other robots. This collaborative nature makes them suitable for applications in warehouses, manufacturing plants, and additional settings where interaction with human workers is necessary.

What are Autonomous Wheels? has introduced a new type of mobile robot, Autonomous Wheels. Genius 2,'s core product comprises a set of Autonomous Wheels, indoor navigation technology, and data analytics. Genius 2 integrates with existing infrastructure as the wheels can be mounted to virtually any object, transforming it into a self-driving robot that can move from A to B to C without human intervention. If anything obstructs its way, it will replan its route to arrive at its destination most efficiently, using advanced sensors, navigation, and mapping technology. The flexibility to turn objects into self-driving robots allows for a wide variety of use cases across many industries, such as manufacturing, automotive, health care, and logistics.

Rasmus Noraas Bendvold explaining Genius 2

Key characteristics and features of Genius 2 include:

  1. Autonomy: Genius 2 comprises four smart wheels, with one wheel acting as the central brain. The wheels move in perfect synchronization and can be programmed to work independently or in collaboration with people or other robots/machines.
  2. Flexibility: The wheels of Genius 2 are designed to be mounted to virtually any object – small or big, light or heavy. This flexibility allows for a wide range of use cases in numerous industries without the need to change existing infrastructures.
  3. Smart Indoor Navigation: The system includes smart indoor navigation technology, comprising LiDAR sensors, 3D cameras, and sophisticated mapping algorithms to navigate within indoor environments and calculate the shortest way to its destination.
  4. Safe and smart obstacle avoidance - The wheels can detect and avoid obstacles on the fly. They replan their routes if an obstacle is detected and come to a full stop if needed. This continuous route planning ensures efficient and safe navigation in changing environments.
  5. Data Analytics: Genius 2 can analyze information collected during missions, enabling the robot to optimize routes, track performance, or provide insights on inefficiencies so the logistics can be optimized.
  6. Intelligent simplicity and user friendliness – Genius 2 can be set up and maintained by almost anyone. The application is intuitive and thus enables you to learn the ins and outs of robots in a matter of minutes.

Key differences between AGVs, AMRs, and Autonomous Wheels

AGVs, AMRs, and Autonomous Wheels have commonalities as well as key differences. Before elaborating on the differences, let us provide an overview of the commonalities:

  1. Material Handling and Logistics: All three technologies are widely used for the automation of material handling tasks, such as replenishing raw materials/spare parts or transporting parcels in manufacturing plants, warehouses, and distribution centers.  
  2. Efficiency and Productivity: AGVs, AMRs, and Autonomous Wheels are all designed to increase efficiency by automating repetitive material transport tasks, reducing manual labor, and enhancing the overall productivity of industrial processes.
  3. Autonomous Navigation: While AGVs, AMRs, and Autonomous Wheels use different technologies to navigate to their destinations, they have one thing in common: they can move autonomously without human intervention.


While these three technologies have much in common, there are key differences, mainly when it comes to the level of flexibility the robots have and their cost:


  1. AGVs: Implementing AGVs requires infrastructure modifications, such as installing magnetic strips or sensors, which makes them less adaptable to changes in the environment or tasks, as every change requires infrastructural changes.  
  2. AMRs: AMRs are highly adaptable and allow quick reconfiguration to handle new tasks as long as the object that is required to be moved fits the footprint (dimensions) and the payload of the AMR.
  3. Autonomous Wheels: They are the most flexible robots in the market as they can be adjusted to the footprint of any object, as long as the object does not exceed the maximum payload of (800 kg | 1760 lbs). They also offer unparalleled flexibility in terms of setting up and adjusting the tasks and routes.


  1. AGVs: Their price typically ranges from $50,000-$200,000, excluding installation, service, and maintenance costs. While AGVs require infrastructural modifications for each changed task, this also leads to additional adaptation costs. Executing infrastructural modifications, maintenance, and repairs for AGVs necessitates on-site visits by skilled technicians, contributing to the overall expenses of sustaining operational functionality.
  2. AMRs: The prices range from $30,000-$100,000, excluding installation, service, and maintenance costs. However, implementing an AMR often requires changes in infrastructure and investing in new carts, racks, forms that enable the AMR to fulfill its tasks. Ensuring the operational integrity of AMRs involves on-site visits by trained technicians for infrastructural changes, maintenance, and repairs, thereby increasing the associated costs.
  3. Autonomous Wheels: Autonomous Wheels are the most affordable technology on the market. The current sole offer on the market's Genius 2- costs $13,990 per set of wheels. Service, including training, extended warranty, spare parts, and maintenance, costs $900 per year. Alternatively, Genius 2 is also available as a subscription for $480 per set of wheels per month. Implementation does not require further investments into infrastructure as the autonomous wheels will be attached to your existing objects.

Choosing the right technology

While AGVs, AMRs, and Autonomous Wheels contribute to similar use cases in industrial environments, it is essential to consider the specific requirements of each application and the unique features of each technology when making decisions about their adoption. The choice between these technologies depends on factors such as the nature of the tasks, the complexity of the environment, and the desired level of flexibility in automation, payload, and cost.

Let us summarize the benefits and challenges of the three discussed technologies so you can choose the right technology for your use case.



  • Automation and Efficiency: AGVs are designed for automation, reducing the need for human intervention in material handling processes. They can follow predefined paths and schedules, leading to consistent and efficient operations.  
  • Industrial Payload: AGVs can carry heavy payloads or tug your existing carts, making them useful for a wide variety of industrial use cases.



  • Infrastructure: Implementing AGVs may require infrastructure modifications, such as installing magnetic strips or sensors, which takes time and can be costly.  
  • Lack of Adaptability: AGVs are often less adaptable to changes in the environment or tasks, requiring reprogramming for modifications.  
  • Higher Initial Costs: AGVs typically have a high upfront cost.
  • Complex Maintenance: While AGVs are large, robust robots, maintaining them can be complex and requires serviced technicians on site. Potential failures could result in downtime on the line and backup plans should be in place.




  • Automation and Efficiency: AMRs can move through their environments independent of human intervention. Their smart technologies allow them to navigate to their destination in the safest and fastest way possible.
  • Flexibility: AMRs are highly adaptable and allow quick reconfiguration to handle new tasks.  



  • Footprint and Payload: Although highly flexible, the adaptability of the AMR depends on the footprint and payload of the object. When the latter exceeds these, the use case may face challenges to being implemented successfully.
  • Higher Initial Costs: AMRs typically have a high upfront cost due to the cost of the AMR itself, but also due to the investment that is often required for purchasing new racks, carts or platforms that would fit the AMR.
  • Complex Maintenance and Troubleshooting: While AMRs are one of the most intelligent autonomous robots in the market, they often require trained professionals for troubleshooting, making modifications, and maintenance.  

Autonomous Wheels:


  • Flexibility: Autonomous Wheels can be mounted to virtually any object, regardless of its dimensions, making them the most flexible and adaptable mobile robots in the market.
  • Accessible Pricing: Autonomous Wheels are currently the most accessible mobile robots in the market, costing roughly 1/3rd of the price of a lower-priced AGV or AMR.
  • Simple Maintenance and Troubleshooting: Due to the modular design of the robots, the robots are easy to maintain, and troubleshooting can be done by your own employees that have gone through the training program. If you’ve signed up for the service package, an issue occurs, you can swap out an entire robot in case of any issues to avoid downtime on your line.  


  • Payload: Despite the high flexibility, Autonomous Wheels can only adapt to new use cases if the transportable object does not exceed the maximum payload of the Autonomous Wheels (800 kg | 1760 lbs).

Autonomous Wheels (Genius 2) vs. AGVs vs. AMRs.

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