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DR Congo recruits robots as traffic police

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa is notorious for bad traffic. So police are getting a helping hand to keep the cars moving.

Two giant traffic robots have appeared in the capital, a city where drivers normally spend hours in traffic and which has become notorious for corrupt traffic police.

Unlike their human counterparts, the robots, which have built-in cameras to report traffic offences to a central computer, are unable to collect bribes.

“There are several kinds of traffic lights in the world,” said engineer Thérèse Izay, who designed the robots.

“But I can tell you that the only robot, in human form, in the shape of a policeman who is regulating traffic, is made in Congo,” she said.

Izay, who runs a women’s technology cooperative, hopes authorities will pay for the robots to be installed in cities across Africa and beyond, to promote Congo’s female engineers and create much-needed jobs.

So far pedestrians at a busy intersection seemed impressed with a robot, which, with its red lights on its front and back of its chest and green lights on its arms, was rotating to direct traffic.

“It is better than before. Now you can cross with confidence. The robot is doing its job correctly,” a pedestrian said.

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