JBT Corporation (NYSE: JBT ) announced Thursday that it has just received orders from Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F ) to buy $10 million worth of its automatic guided vehicle (AGV) systems. But it's not what you might think -- it's not those kinds of "vehicles" we are talking about here.
Ford isn't trying to buy an off-the-shelf "self-driving car" from JBT, but rather, is investing in a fleet of robotic forklifts to shuttle car parts around Ford auto plants. Similar to the Kiva robots that Amazon.com likes so much -- likes so much that it "bought the company" last year -- JBT's AGVs are useful for moving "pallets, rolls, racks, carts, containers or other materials" from Point A to Point B without need for human drivers.
According to JBT, Ford actually already has more than 250 of its AGVs chugging around Ford manufacturing plants today -- out of some 4,000 of the robots that JBT has built and shipped to customers around the world. Ford's latest shipments of the robots are scheduled to begin arriving in Q3 2014, with the full order being delivered before the end of next year.