Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Robot cops rule! Humanoids take over streets of Kinshasa to tackle traffic chaos

Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has installed two robots to help bring order in the city's hectic traffic. Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has installed two robots to help bring order in the city's hectic traffic.
HIDE CAPTION
Kinshasa's robot cops
Kinshasa's robot cops
Kinshasa's robot cops
Kinshasa's robot cops
Kinshasa's robot cops
Kinshasa's robot cops
Kinshasa's robot cops
Kinshasa's robot cops
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two talking robots have been installed in the DRC capital Kinshasa to regulate traffic
  • They are powered by solar panels and are equipped with surveillance cameras
  • The aim is to cut accidents and help reduce traffic in Kinshasa's busy streets

(CNN) -- How do you solve the problem of choking road traffic in one of the world's bustling megacities? You bring in the robot cops.

In Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, two humanoid robots have been installed in high-traffic areas to regulate the flow of vehicles and help drivers and pedestrians traverse the roads safely.

Read this: The daily grind of commuting in Africa's economic hubs

The goal is to ease the traffic woes of commuters and cut the number of road accidents in the center of Kinshasa, a city of some 10 million people.

LAPD's data mining program has CIA roots
Can surveillance make life easier?

"It is an innovation about road safety," Vale Manga Wilma, president of the DRC's National Commission for Road Safety (Commission Nationale de Prevention Routiere), told CNN.

"The traffic is a big problem in the rush hours," he explained. "With the robots' policemen intelligence, the road safety in Kinshasa becomes very easy."

Read this: Megacity's ambitious plans

Standing eight feet tall, the robot traffic wardens are on duty 24 hours a day, their towering -- even scarecrow-like -- mass visible from afar. They are powered by solar panels and are equipped with rotating chests and surveillance cameras that record the flow of vehicles.

The humanoids, which are installed on Kinshasa's busy Triomphal and Lumumba intersections, are built of aluminum and stainless steel to endure the city's year-round hot climate.

Featuring green and red lights, Kinshasa's robot cops are designed to merge some of the functions of human officers and traffic lights. The anthropomorphic robots can raise or bend their arms to stop passing vehicles or let others pass, and are also programmed to speak, indicating to pedestrians when they can cross the road.

Manga Wilma said that this is a DRC-made technology, designed and built by a team of local engineers called WITECH ONG.

READ MORE: Africa's 'new cities' - Urban future or utopian fantasies?

READ MORE: Africa's giant infrastructure projects

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:47 AM EDT, Fri June 20, 2014
Solutions to global challenges are happening now. In many ways, the city of tomorrow is here today. CNN's Rachel Crane reports.
updated 3:48 PM EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
A New York startup wants to track pedestrians and make the information public. Is that a good thing?
updated 1:50 PM EDT, Mon May 26, 2014
The LAPD's amazing data mining program has roots in the CIA. Is it tracking you?
updated 2:32 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
As fresh water threatens to become more precious, we show you what will be the largest water desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere.
updated 10:58 AM EDT, Mon May 26, 2014
What's so smart about this amazing park bench? An MIT-backed scientist shows you.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
Songdo International Business District, South Korea.
How can cities best use emerging technology? Will we build 'smart cities' from scratch? CNN's Rachel Crane Reports.
updated 12:19 PM EDT, Tue May 27, 2014
Philadelphia saves more than $1 million every year with nearly 1,000 "smart" trash cans. CNN's Rachel Crane reports.
updated 11:16 AM EDT, Mon May 26, 2014
We show you why Seattle's Bullitt Center bills itself as the greenest commercial building in the world.
updated 10:31 AM EDT, Fri May 30, 2014
The world's largest offshore wind farm in England is being challenged by a cute little bird named the Red-throated Diver.
ADVERTISEMENT