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Automated Guided Vehicle costs (AGVs) vary wildly depending on the specific application and the features and capabilities that are required and on the type of material handling equipment that are used to move materials, products, or equipment throughout a facility. 

A basic AGV can cost up to $50,000. These AGVs typically have a lower payload capacity and are intended for simple material handling tasks such as transporting materials from one point to another within a facility. They are usually powered by batteries and are equipped with basic navigation systems such as sensors and cameras that allow them to follow a predetermined path. 

More advanced AGVs, such as those designed for heavy payloads or specialized applications, can cost upwards of $300,000. These AGVs may be equipped with features such as advanced navigation systems, robotic arms, and sensors to detect and avoid obstacles. They may also be designed to operate in harsh environments such as high temperatures or areas with high levels of dust or moisture. 

In addition to the cost of the AGV itself, there are several other costs associated with implementing an AGV system that need to be taken into account. These include: 

  • The cost of installation, which can range from several thousand dollars for a basic system to tens of thousands of dollars for a more complex system.  
  • Ongoing costs for maintenance, repairs, and replacement parts.  
  • There may be costs associated with training employees to operate and maintain the AGVs. 

It’s important to note that AGVs can have a relatively high return on investment (ROI) due to their ability to automate repetitive tasks and increase productivity. The cost savings from reduced labor costs and increased efficiency can offset the initial investment in the AGVs. 

A new way to deploy automation: Robots as a Service (RaaS) 

Robot as a Service (RaaS) is much like the familiar Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) pricing models in that it removes high upfront costs and rolls all fees into one, low regularly scheduled payment. This allows customers to realize ROI faster and does not tie up capital with a single lump sum payment.  

While there are many benefits to RaaS pricing, the most important is shifting from Capital Expenditure to Operational Expenditure. Rather than having to gain executive-level approvals to purchase assets up-front, RaaS pricing requires a multi-term commitment (e.g., 3-year or 5-year) and a recurring annual payment model. This speeds up decision-making and allows for a more efficient use of capital to deploy more robots faster, thereby realizing a measurable return on robotics within the first year. Another benefit of RaaS is that maintenance, support, and services costs are included which means that there are no downstream cost surprises and ensures mission-alignment between the automation provider and the warehouse operator.  

A comparison table of lease vs RaaS

RaaS pricing has been around since the mid-2010s to reduce heavy, up-front investment for coworking robots, namely robotic arms in industrial and manufacturing environments. Small bots used for goods-to-person and person-to-goods conveyor applications more recently adopted the RaaS model as well. To date, no high-capacity autonomous mobile robot or AGV has offered Robot-as-a-Service pricing, instead preferring capital leases through 3rd parties. 

However, with the growing demand for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and concern about capital preservation, RaaS is beginning to show up in discussions around high-capacity self-driving materials handling equipment. Through an independent survey completed in October 2020, Modern Materials Handling found that 32% of warehouse and distribution center management say they are holding back on adopting AMRs due to a lack of capital. One month later, Tom Andersson of Style Intelligence market research published his findings, citing a major trend around rising interest in the robot as a service model for those in the market for autonomous pallet-moving vehicles in warehousing, manufacturing, and distribution centers. 

Overall, the cost of AGVs (and AMRs!) vary widely depending on the specific application and the features and capabilities required. It’s important to consider all costs associated with implementing an AGV system, including installation, maintenance, support, and employee training. While the ROI of AGVs can be high due to the ability to automate repetitive tasks and increase productivity it’s important to pay attention to those downstream costs of keeping your system running properly in your total cost calculations. RaaS pricing models vastly simplify the automation buying experience and free up capital to deploy more automated throughput quickly and avoid any surprise cost as the system matures in out years. 

Vecna Robotics has a wide range of AMR pallet handling solutions designed to optimize warehouse operations with automation and improve overall throughput. Our solutions are available exclusively via Robots as a Service that allow you to deploy our AMRs for your most demanding warehouse workflows fast. For more information about how to get your facility started with our automation solutions, go to our From No Bot to Robot page, or contact us today to schedule a consultation with a material handling automation expert.