Police in Tunisia are using robots to patrol the streets to enforce a coronavirus lockdown — here's what they look like

mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com (Mary Meisenzahl)
Tunisia PGuard robot.

Khaled Nasraoui/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • Tunisian police are using robots to enforce quarantine lockdowns.
  • The robot finds people outside despite the lockdown and asks to see IDs, which are examined remotely by police. 
  • In other countries, robots are being used to disinfect, take temperatures, and even prepare food.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tunisian police have enlisted robots to patrol and enforce a nightly lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak. Around the world, robots are being used to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, by taking on cleaning and food preparation jobs that are considered dangerous for humans. 

The coronavirus disease that originated in China has now infected more than one million people worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared it a pandemic. The virus has disrupted travel worldwide, leading to flight cancellationsquarantines, and other breakdowns in movement and supply chains. Tunisia has 596 confirmed cases of the virus and 22 deaths as of Tuesday.

Tunisia has added robots to enforce security measures, and it's gotten some attention on social media. See what it looks like here. 

The robots have been spotted patrolling in Tunisia's capital city of Tunis.

Tunisia PGuard robot.

Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

They're PGuard robots, produced by Enova Robotics headquartered in Sousse, Tunisia, for an undisclosed price

GettyImages 1208902894

FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Enova, BBC

PGuards come equipped with Lidar technology, the technology used in self-driving cars, plus infrared and thermal imaging cameras.

GettyImages 1208902893

FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

It has a sound and light alarm system that can be used to communicate with the public.

GettyImages 1208902891

FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

Like more than a third of the world right now, Tunisia is under a lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus. People are only allowed out of their homes for medical reasons or purchasing necessary supplies.

Tunisia PGuard robot.

FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

Tunisia went into lockdown on March 22, with a curfew asking people to stay inside between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Tunisia PGuard robot.

Khaled Nasraoui/picture alliance via Getty Images

Police have already confiscated licenses from more than 10,000 drivers who did not have the right permits to be out.

Tunisia PGuard robot.

Khaled Nasraoui/picture alliance via Getty Images

Source: Faz

Police operate the robot and use it to ask anyone outside why they're out. The person must show ID or other papers to the camera, for the police to see.

Tunisia PGuard robot.

Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

The robots weigh about 500 pounds and can travel at up to seven miles per hour.

Tunisia PGuard robot.

FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Enova

PGuards have been deployed by Tunisia's Interior Ministry, and they could help reduce contact and possible virus transmission between police and civilians.

Tunisia PGuard robot.

Khaled Nasraoui/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Ministry also posted a video to Facebook and YouTube showing how the robots work.

 

In a video posted to Twitter, a man explains to the PGuard that he's going out to buy cigarettes. "Okay buy your tobacco, but be quick and go home," the robot says back.

 

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