The trial involves a fleet of more than 50 of the electric vehicles on the streets of Nansha District, Guangzhou under a strategic collaboration with the Yutong Group.

WeRide says the Robo Street Sweeper is its second mass production and purpose-built self-driving vehicle, following the launch of its Mini Robobus, and is the first of its kind in the sweeper industry.

Designed and produced for city-level environmental services, it features a cockpit-free design without a steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedals. WeRide says that it operates as a level 4 autonomous driving solution, which the firm says enables safe, fully driverless and all-day available operations.

Level 4 vehicles can operate without a driver in specific locations, such as within a city or a district thereof, although a driver either inside or outside the vehicle may have to take control again in certain circumstances.

While critics of self-driving technology have raised concerns about level 4 automation, WeRide emphasises its built-in redundancy element – meaning a backup system for safety critical elements that can take control if the primary system fails.

WeRide says that under the self-driving mode, the Robo Street Sweeper fleet can perform comprehensive environmental services, such as sweeping, sprinkling and disinfection spraying.

It adds that in the light of the COVID-19 situation, the vehicle is equipped with a spraying system to disinfect streetscapes with zero-contact.

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