The electric, autonomous street sweeper cleaning Helsinki by night

The Trombia Free is currently being tested in the streets of Helsinki and Espoo in Finland. — AFP Relaxnews

The Finnish startup Trombia has developed the first fully autonomous, electric street sweeper. It is currently being tested in the cities of Helsinki and Espoo, where it helps clean the streets at night.

After first being trialed along cycle lanes, the Trombia Free is now cleaning several streets in the Finnish cities of Helsinki and Espoo each night.

In terms of design, this cleaning machine looks like a kind of giant robot vacuum cleaner. To find its way, the machine is equipped with laser sensors (LiDAR), which help it avoid obstacles. It can travel at speeds of up to 10 km/h.

However, for sweeping and dust-removal jobs, it is limited to 6 km/h. Each hour, this autonomous street sweeper is capable of cleaning surfaces of 5,000 to 15,000 sqm in size. The Trombia Free has a battery life of up to 17 hours and is particularly quiet, meaning it can work at night without disturbing residents.

Beyond its technological prowess, Trombia states that its autonomous machine uses less than 15% of the power required by current street sweeping machines – or an average 16 kW compared to just over 100 kW. In addition, the Trombia Free promises water savings of over 95% compared to current suction sweepers.

More ecological and more economical than classic street sweepers, the Trombia Free could prove a promising means for cities to reduce their carbon footprints.

Trials are expected to be expanded before its official launch, with the Trombia Free expected to go on sale from 2022. – AFP Relaxnews

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