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Coronavirus: Tunisia deploys ‘police robot’ amid lockdown

TUNIS: Interior Ministry of Tunisia has deployed a police robot to patrol areas of the capital – Tunis – to ensure that people are observing the coronavirus lockdown.
The police robot is 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.
Interior ministry posted images and soundtracks of the robot on its official website. PGuard calls out to suspected violators of the lockdown: “What are you doing? Show me your ID. You don’t know there’s a lockdown?”
The people must then show their identity card and other authorized papers to the robot’s camera, so officers controlling it can check them.
The robot also has pre-recorded messages calling on citizens to “respect the law, and stay at home to limit the spread of the virus and safeguard human lives.”
Anis Sahbani – creator of the robot – said that the machine was first produced in 2015 essentially to carry out security patrols. The robot costs between $100,000 and $140,000. A number of the robots have been donated to the interior ministry.
The company is now planning to deploy another robot in a Tunis hospital to help coronavirus patients communicate with relatives.
This is the second week of a nationwide lockdown to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus. Since March 2, at least 14 people have died from coronavirus in the country and almost 455 persons have tested positive.
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