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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

UK to have driverless electric road sweepers next year

Three companies are building a fully autonomous electric with rollout happening in the second quarter

Three organisations will debut a fully autonomous, electric road sweeper throughout UK streets next year. Courtesy of Westfield Group
Three organisations will debut a fully autonomous, electric road sweeper throughout UK streets next year. Courtesy of Westfield Group

A car manufacturer, cleaner and technology firm have partnered to release an electric self-driving lorry to clear rubbish from UK streets.

A Westfield Sportscars subsidiary, Johnston Sweepers and Fusion Processing plan to release its first fully autonomous vehicle in the second quarter of next year, tackling the demand for a more efficient, eco-friendly process.

“A fully autonomous road sweeper could revolutionise town centre sweeping, improving the environment for residents and businesses, and this is an exciting opportunity to develop the technology for use at airports and on roadwork sites,” said Julian Turner, Westfield Technology Group chief executive.

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The company told The National that the target cost for the vehicle would run around £120,000, with the aim for financing to fall between £2,000-£3,000 per month. Westfield said that 90 per cent of its autonomous buyers turn to a financing plan.

The trio has completed millions of miles of testing and commercial operation, but integrating the new sensing equipment will be the challenge. Westfield said that there is still more testing to come before this is allowed into commercial operation, including grabbing approval for the sensors which is a thoroughly mandated process.

The trials will be conducted at six locations throughout the UK at Greenwich Living Lab, Trafford Centre, Media City Manchester and three airports including Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester.

While the technology will cut the need for drivers, there are other job openings that will be created as a result.

The groups plan to manufacture in the UK to distribute globally. “This will be creating jobs and ensure that Westfield continues at the forefront of the autonomous vehicle technology,” Mr Turner said.