Kinshasa expands robot-style traffic control system

Africa’s new “RoboCops” may not be able to drive cars, but they can stop them.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is expanding its network of traffic control systems that were designed to look like humanoid robots, and feature red and yellow lights on their bodies and green ones at the end of their arms.

The tall, silver machines rotate and lift their arms to direct traffic, while cameras installed inside of them provide a live security feed to a central police monitoring station. They also wear sunglasses for that authoritative look.

Two of the solar-powered, anthropomorphic creations have been in operation since 2013 in the city of Kinshasa, which just added three more, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports. They were designed by a female-led engineering firm called Women’s Technology, and cost about $27,500 each.

Five more of the robots are set to be installed in another area of the country, and a request to fund an additional 30 is currently under consideration.

As for their effectiveness, a taxi driver in Kinshasa told AFP that “there are certain drivers who don’t respect the traffic police. But with the robot it will be different. We should respect the robot.”