These are machines that cruise the sidewalk to clean it. It sprays water and also has rotating brushes on the front that pushes the debri around. They just jump the curb and proceed to do their business----doesn't matter how many people are on the sidewalk. No, they do not clean the sidewalk at night or early morning when no one is walking on it. The clean it all during the day---during rush hour even. I observed one machine the other day. He started down the sidewalk behind this little old lady carrying her grocery bags. Well, she must have been hard of hearing or something because she didn't turn around until the thing was right on her butt blowing leaves all over her. She probably felt the water spraying on her legs. I wanted to smack that driver. He was just cruising along ever so slowly just a few steps behind her.
Here's some photos from Paris:
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