Student-designed robot created to separate cars and motorcycles at traffic lights
Originally posted at: https://www.ugandapartners.org/2023/04/student-designed-robot-designed-to-separate-cars-and-motorcycles-at-traffic-lights/
By Kefa Senoga
A student of Uganda Christian University (UCU) has developed a robot to help control traffic on roads. The innovation by Anei Agany Them, a South Sudanese student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at UCU, is intended to reduce motorcycle accidents at traffic light junctions.
“I came up with a project of traffic lights, where I added the blue lights to the usual red, orange and green. The blue light is meant to permit the movement of motorcycles only,” Anei explained.
He added: “When I see the traffic jam in Kampala, it’s dangerous for the lights to allow both motorcycles and vehicles to move at the same time because the cars can hit the boda-bodas as both compete for the narrow roads.”
Anei’s idea, which he intends to take to the people in charge of traffic operations in his country, South Sudan, would be useful if adopted in Uganda, which registers a high number of fatalities on its roads. Government statistics indicate that there was a 9% increase in the total number of persons who died as a result of road crashes from 4,159 in 2021 to 4,534 in 2022. Of these, 528 died from motorcycle accidents in 2021 and, in 2022, a total of 552 who died were passengers on motorcycles.
Anei said he was able to come up with his innovation because of the support of the department of Information Communication Technology (ICT) at UCU.
“I came to UCU to learn and acquire knowledge such that I can go back home in South Sudan and put what I have learned into practice and, I must say, I have learned a lot,” Anei, who is in his final year, said, emphasizing that robots can be created to offer solutions to the daily challenges faced by humans.
He hopes to pursue a master’s degree in robotics with the hope of empowering other young people to develop the skill in his country.
“Robotics is a wonderful technology which simplifies work for humans and that’s why I want to inspire the new generation in Africa to pick up this innovation,” Anei said, noting that the one stage he has mastered in the making of robots is the wiring and connecting of sensors that detect signals to the working boards.
Anei said that there have been some challenges like accessing equipment or requirements used in the making of robots.
“These requirements are expensive and, as students, we can’t afford them, so we wait for the school to provide whatever they can,” he said.
He added that studying at UCU has given him the opportunity to lead a team, which has boosted his confidence and ability to generate ideas. “Since I joined UCU, we have been making class presentations, which, sometimes, I have spearheaded as the group leader, and this has enabled me to gain confidence,” Anei explained.
In October last year, UCU’s Department of Computing and Technology received a donation of electronics equipment worth $6,304 (about sh23.5million) from the benefactors of the USA-based nonprofit, UCU Partners. The donation of a flash forge 3D printer, an advanced virtual reality headset, a smart robot vehicle kit, a computer kit, a digital oscilloscope with a four-channel standard decoder and a triple output power supply, among others, came at a time when the department had just introduced courses in robotics, mechatronics, electronics engineering and data science. When Anei talked to Uganda Partners last year, after receiving this donation, he said the equipment would allow him get more hands-on experience for all the many robotics projects he has been working on.
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