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Real-life Robocops for DR Congo

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We don't want to alarm you at this early on a Wednesday, but we've had word that the robots are massing their numbers. 

Since 2013, the bustling streets of Kinshasa - capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo and home to some eight million people - have been watched over by two real-life Robocops. Armed, quite literally, with traffic signals in their limbs and cameras in their chests, the metallic humanoid figures were installed in the hope of conveying a new sense of respect for the often-ignored road rules of the city.

Such was their impact that, on 4 March, the robotic duo were joined by three new counterparts, named Tamuke, Mwaluke and Kisanga. Because names always give a friendly edge to thoughtless machines.

Built by Women's Technology, a Congolese association of women engineers, the new robots are said to react much more quickly to stop and record traffic offences. The group's president Therese Izay is hoping that, should the new models prove effective, as many as 30 might appear on the city's streets. 

"In our city, someone can commit an offence and run away, and say that no one saw him," she told the AFP. "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."

The android assistants don't come cheap: each of the new models cost the city £20,000 each - but in a city where traffic accidents have claimed the lives of 2,276 citizens since 2007, it's an investment the local government appears willing to pay. 

And no, we're positive this isn't an elaborate form of marketing for Chappie - it's just a terrifying coincidence that makes us want to unplug everything in sight. We're desperately hoping that the robots have a few good catchphrases like the ones below - albeit a 'dead or a live' threat is possibly a touch over the top for running a red light.

(Images: AFP/Rex)

[Via: The Guardian]

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