Driverless sweeper trucks on road tests

Two driverless sweeper trucks are being tested in an industrial park in suburban Songjiang District.

Filmed by Jiang Xiaowei. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Translated by Zhong Youyang. Special thanks to Andy Boreham.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

A driverless street sweeping truck is tested in an industrial park in suburban Songjiang District. 

TWO driverless sweeper trucks are being tested in an industrial park in suburban Songjiang District.

The electric trucks move on a planned route and can detect and pick up garbage without the help of a driver or assistant.

The brainchild of a local venture company,, the sweepers automatically leave the parking lot and start working once the program is set.

During test runs, the sweeper trucks did stop at traffic lights and roadblocks.

“We tried to be as conservative as we can while designing the algorithm,” said Ye Qing, head of the company’s engineering unit. “Safety is our priority,” Ye said.

While mopping the streets, the trucks move at a speed of 3 kilometers per hour. At the industrial park, it took the truck roughly 15 minutes to clean the road.

“A fully charged truck can work up to four hours,” said Huang Chao, CEO of “There is still room for improvement in this technology.”

Huang said ideally he would like to modify the vehicle and use the empty drivers space more effectively.

The company is considering designing a sweeper vehicle that is totally driverless — like a floor mopping robot operating on the streets.

The two trucks are being tested in the park. The company plans to promote them in other industrial plants or scenic spots later this year.

“Though driverless technology is developing rapidly, the real situation on the streets is too complicated. The regulation on driverless cars is also not clear,” Huang said.

The Songjiang District traffic authority said that the two driverless cleaning vehicles cannot leave the park and can only operate in the night.

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