Design and Prototype Self Driving and Off Highway Sweeper

Focus Area

Construction and Maintenance Practices


Environmental Process, Natural Resources






Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

This research will develop the design for a prototype robotic sweeper sweep/collect trash along mainline highway segments. The research should produce the following: 1. Design of a self driving sweeper that could operate both on and off highway 2. Build a prototype sweeper 3. Operate and test the sweeper both on anf off highway to sweep/collect trash and measure the efficiency by pre and post visual assessment of swept area.

Urgency and Payoff

Trash is increasingly an important targeted constituent for highway stormwater runoff. Departments of Transportation (DOTs)are facing stringent trash regulations and many water bodies are listed for trash impairment. In California the statewide trash implementation program requires 100 trash load reduction within 15 years. Compliance is to be achieved by by installing,operating, and maintaining any combination of FULL CAPTURE SYSTEMS, MULTI-BENEFIT PROJECTS, other TREATMENT CONTROLS, and/or INSTITUTIONAL CONTROLS for all storm drains that captures runoff from SIGNIFICANT TRASH GENERATING AREAS. The Department must demonstrate that such combination achieves FULL CAPTURE SYSTEM EQUIVALENCY. Installing full capture systems will require DOTs to construct and operate structural BMPs at substantial costs to treat the storm water at the end-of-pipe. In addition much of the unsightly trash seen along highways does not easily enter the stormdrain inlets and remains trapped along the shoulders and soundwalls. Studies have shown that a much of material captured in trash devices is sediment and vegetation. A potentially more cost-effective approach for managing trash accumulated on highways would be to utilize institutional measures like enhanced sweeping, trash pick up and public education. Trash pickup along mainline highway segments requires traffic control measures and even then may be potentially unsafe. In general regulators have not been very favorable to provide treatment credits for public education unless measurable loads reductions can be demonstrated. The use of human operated sweepers also requires enchanced safety measures and is generally limited to off peak hours. The use of self driving sweepers and off highway sweepers could overcome limitations in deployment of this effective trash control BMP.

Suggested By

Bhaskar Joshi California Department of Transportation 916-653-5240

[email protected]