In Brief

Robocops brought in to direct the traffic in Kinshasa

'People don't respect the traffic police,' said one Congolese taxi driver. 'We should respect the robot'

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Giant robots are being used on the streets of the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to control traffic and reduce dangerous driving

The huge solar-powered machines are designed to monitor roads across Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, and are equipped with red and green lights, as well as multiple cameras, to catch offending drivers.

They "look more like giant toys than real policemen" and cost roughly £18,000 each to make, according to AFP.

The robots were developed by Women's Technology, a Congolese association of all-female engineers. The group's president, Therese Izay, says that the giant machines will stop dangerous drivers from thinking that they can escape justice.

"In our city, someone can commit an offence and run away, and say that no one saw him," she said. "But now, day or night, we'll be able to see him in real time and he will pay his fine like in all the serious countries of the world." 

People on the roads seem to agree. "There are certain drivers who don’t respect the traffic police. But with the robot it will be different. We should respect the robot," said taxi driver Poro Zidane.

"As a motorcyclist I'm very happy with the robot's work," Demouto Mutombo told CCTV Africa. "Because when the traffic police control the cars here there's still a lot of traffic. But since the robot arrived, we see truly that the commuters are respectful."

The machines were first introduced in 2013, with three new robots added to the capital this week and five more sent to the Katanga province in the southeast. A proposal has been submitted for 30 more robots to be stationed along the country's motorways.

However, Kinshasa governor Andre Kimbuta said a strong police presence was still needed on the country's roads. "We should congratulate our Congolese engineers, but policemen also need to do their job," he said.

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