Beware Lagosians, they are bulky and they hand out tickets too.
VENTURES AFRICA – Lagos, a city housing the largest metropolitan population in Africa but with a small land area spanning 738 km2 (285 sq mi), harbours some of the worst traffic issues in the world. However, a new robot, designed by WITECH ONG, a local engineering firm from DR Congo, could go a long way in curbing a few of these.
The robots have taken the jobs of less efficient and sometimes extortive human traffic wardens in Congo, and they could do the same in Lagos.
The solar-powered machines are equipped with four cameras to enable them effective direct traffics at T-intersections, and to identify traffic offenders and transmit the vehicle information to an enforcement centre. They are built of aluminium and stainless steel to endure the city’s extremely humid climate. More importantly, they could become the key component in solving the megacity’s traffic mayhem.
In jam-packed Lagos, Danfo bus drivers and commuters, trying to meet up daily work appointments, often create a scene of rowdiness during rush hours. Most roads are clogged with traffic jams, and traffic control often proves fruitless due to poor enforcement. To be fair, Lagos now has an agency LASTMA, tasked with the very duties of ensuring order on its roads and punishing offenders, but this body is now considered “more corrupt” than the Nigerian Police.
The famous lagos traffic
In contrast, robots are bribe-proof and are free from common human limitations. Economically, they are relatively cheaper than hiring a full-time police warden; it cost $22,230 (N4.5 million) – a one-time payment – to produce one.
Though, a lack of fear and poor maintenance habits inherent within most African societies might hamper the effective use of such equipment in Nigeria. But Therese Izay Kirongozi, who is the head of the engineering firm behind the innovation, says the robots have a plan to address the challenge of fear. “If a driver says that he’s not going to respect the robot because it’s just a machine, the robot is going to take that and there will be a ticket for him,” she told CCTV Africa recently.
Therese says her dream is to see these robots on the streets of New York, but she could very well start of with one of Africa’s leading cities in Lagos, which is in dire need of such an innovation.
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