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Photo: City of Helsinki

Helsinki trials autonomous street sweeper

19 April 2021

by Sarah Wray

The City of Helsinki is trialling a quiet, emission-free robot in a bid to find new ways to keep streets clean with minimal disruption to residents.

The Trombia Free vehicle will run from today until April 27 on weekday evenings on a busy street (Välimerenkatu) and bicycle path (Baana) in the Jätkäsaari area of Helsinki.

“The autonomous and electric street sweeper is so quiet that it makes it possible to sweep the streets at night, hindering traffic as little as possible,” said Antti Nikkanen, Managing Director, Trombia Technologies. “For us, Jätkäsaari is an ideal smart city test location and a reference for the world’s major cities, as Jätkäsaari at night will show what can really be achieved with automation in an urban environment.”

In particular, the pilot will monitor the noise level and efficiency of the street sweeper as well as broader benefits and limitations. The machine can detect obstacles and pedestrians in its path and stop, but during the pilot it will always be accompanied by an operator.

Mobility testbed

The trial is part of the Jätkäsaari smart mobility testbed.

Janne Rinne, Project Manager, Forum Virium Helsinki, the city’s innovation unit, said: “Our goal is for the best solutions to be exported from Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab to other cities in Finland and abroad. At the same time, we are promoting Helsinki’s climate goals and creating a more enjoyable urban environment for the residents.”

Trombia Free is described as “the world’s first fully powered, electric and autonomous street sweeper”. Trombia says the device consumes only 15 percent of the energy and a fraction of the water of conventional cleaning machines and does not generate emissions.

The City of Espoo is also trialling the Trombia Free.

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