Denso | Automotive Manufacturing with Autonomous Vehicles

Warehouse AGVs Deliver Immediate Safety & Productivity Gains in Automotive Manufacturing

As the second largest automotive parts supplier in the world, DENSO Corporation, ships to numerous top brand car manufacturers including Honda, Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and GM. To transform their primarily manual operation, DENSO had two primary objectives in mind, to overcome labor shortages and improve warehouse operation safety for associates driving vehicles inside the facility.

The result – 48% reduction in process defects and 33% reallocated labor to better positions with no eliminated roles.

Together, DENSO, Bastian Solutions and Toyota Material Handling integrated five AGVs, Toyota Core Tow Tractors, supported by BlueBotics ANT® monitor and Bastian Solutions’ traffic control and routing software. For their Maryville, Tennessee warehouse, this meant a fast setup and install that immediately delivered reliable productivity and improved employee safety. Prior to deployment the AGVs underwent numerous testing with safety related items. “Quality and safety are a given in the industry. And those can never be compromised. We found our heaviest pallets that we’re ever going to have and put them on there and we sent it at full speed,” said Matthew Summit, DENSO Manufacturing DMNT Effective Factory Planning & Logistics. Sensors can be tested at any time by any employee for continued safety assurance.

Now able to automate the transport of product pallets from receiving to production lines via software, DENSO is able to better leverage their human labor force for improved manufacturing distribution productivity. “We have not had a lot of automation in the warehouse. So, it’s new for all of us. And most people feared for their job. Bastian has provided an easy way for us, where we did not lose any jobs. We allocated those jobs in other areas where they were needed,” said Nate Rose, DENSO Manufacturing Production Logistics Section Leader.


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Key Technologies

“These units [AGVs] are going to show up every day, they are going to go to work every day, they’re going to cut down on damage to product, damage to the units itself.” – Kevin Lewis, Toyota Material Handling MidSouth Capital Equipment & Leasing.

  • 5 Toyota Core Tow Tractor (8TB50A)
    • Travel Speed (manual): Full load 5.8 mph, no load 8.8 mph
    • Automated Travel Speed: Varies by capacity, from 4 mph at 4,850 lbs. to 1.1 mph at 10,000 lbs.
    • Maximum Towing Capacity: 10,000 lbs.
    • Drawbar (Continuous): 250 lbs.
    • Drawbar (Maximum): 750 lbs.
  • 5 8TB50A Automatic charging contacts for tuggers
  • Bastian Solutions traffic control and routing software
  • BlueBotics ANT® Monitor


“We [were] not looking for someone to work for us. We were looking for someone to help us and work with us,” said Chris Ramsey, DENSO Manufacturing Director of Production Control & Logistics, Corporate Planning. “[Bastian] will deliver as they expected but also keep your needs and best interests in mind. They’re looking for what works for you, not what works for them.”

  • 33% reallocated labor to better positions, no eliminated positions
  • 48% reduction in process defects
  • Reliable productivity
  • Improved employee safety
  • Fast setup and install, operational in months
  • Quick AGV training and easy knowledge transfer


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