Police robots patrol the streets of Tunisia during lockdown
CAPE TOWN - A police robot is patrolling the streets of Tunis to enforce the government lockdown instituted last month to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the region, reported online news publication the Guardian.
Known as PGuard, the “robocop” is remotely operated and equipped with infrared and thermal imaging cameras, in addition to a sound and light alarm system.
If people are spotted in the largely deserted streets, it approaches them and asks why they are out.
According to the Guardian, citizens must then show their ID and other papers to the robot's camera, so officers controlling it can check them.
It is not clear how many of the Tunisian-built surveillance robots, called PGuards, have been deployed by the interior ministry.
According to the BBC, the manufacturer, Enova Robotics, said it was a confidential matter. It also refused to reveal the price tag.
Robotic technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly being used during these exceptional times as has been seen in China, which has used disinfecting robots and thermal camera-equipped drones among other gadgets to fight the coronavirus.
Tunisia has been under night time curfew since 17 March, but authorities have instilled stricter lockdown orders since 22 March.
According to the latest figures on the online Covid-19 portal Worldometer, Tunisia has 574 cases of Covid-19, of which 22 people have died.