You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked onto a sci-fi movie set if you found yourself on the streets of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and saw how traffic is directed in and around the city.
Like many crowded cities across the world, Kinshasa suffers from a congestion problem, even with officials directing traffic flow on the streets. That’s what inspired engineer and inventor, Isaie Thérèse, to create eight-foot-tall humanoid solar-powered robots that act as traffic officials.
Thérèse, founder of a women’s technology cooperative, built the humanoid robots with the help of a group of local engineers at a cost of about R150 000.
Four cameras in each robot allow them to view and control traffic. This way, road offenders can’t escape the eye of the humanoids, as footage is sent to a central computer and tickets are issued when drivers and pedestrians do anything illegal.
Thérèse hopes to make more robots and export them internationally and get some profits rolling in. “Our government is looking for money, with the roads it has built it needs to recover its money”, she says.
A few people have their reservations about the humanoids, saying they don’t believe robots should take over jobs that have traditionally been done by humans, but regardless, Thérèse’s robots are here to stay.
Watch the video below to see them in action.