Finland’s Trombia Technologies is running a pilot trial using its autonomous, electric cleaning robot Trombia Free to sweep the streets of the capital Helsinki.

The fully autonomous electric street sweeper, which was unveiled last year, is now being put through its paces as part of the Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab, Helsinki’s testbed for smart mobility.

The robot is already in use along the Helsinki Baana bicycle lane and other street cleaning duties across the city.

Trombia Free measures 3.5m long, 2.3m wide and weighs around 2,600kg. Because it is quiet, it can work at night when there are fewer pedestrians and the streets are generally less busy.

The street cleaner is equipped with all-weather autonomous, lidar-based, machine vision technology designed to operate in rain and snow. But although capable of fully autonomous driving, it will operate under human supervision during the pilot.

The technology is not only self-driving, it is also green. Trombia Technologies CEO Antti Nikkanen says the suction technology currently used in street cleaners was invented in the 1950s, and Trombia’s cleaning devices use less than 15% of the power.

Nikkanen adds, “High power diesel-fuelled suction street sweepers around the world produce over three million metric tons of carbon emissions annually, but smart cities can act to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions significantly by modernising the way street cleaning is undertaken.