The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, is one of Africa’s most congested cities when it comes to traffic. The 10 million inhabitants have a diresome traffic problem.
Enter the traffic robots. The two robots have done what human traffic officers have failed to do: effectively regulate traffic flow.
Costing just $10,000 to make, they are solar powered, they shine a green or red light, record road activity, play road safety awareness music and talk in French and Lingala.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_QsY7govq0
The biggest robot has been placed at a busy intersection near the parliament to control traffic. A smaller one stands in a densely populated area to assist pedestrians in crossing the road where a number of school pupils have been run over.
The third robot was put at Place de la Poste in Lubumbashi, the DRC’s second-biggest city. Like in Kinshasa, it has gained significant popularity there with the city’s pedestrians and motorists.
This phenomenon owes its beginnings to a wooden prototype that was shown at an innovation fair in March last year. There, it was seen by engineer and businesswoman Thérèse Kirongozi who decided to finance and improve the original concept into a workable instrument on the streets.
“It was created with the initial goal of putting an end to road accidents,” says one of the local engineers behind the robot.
Kirongozi’s cooperative, Women’s Technology (Wotech) made the robots in a small workshop. She plans to show the robot in Switzerland and Canada while also holding talks with the DRC government to use the robot’s camera to track traffic violations.