Germany is considering the use of drones to catch graffiti artists in the act. The country’s national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones in an attempt to halt the unwanted artwork on its property.
The idea is to equip the drones with infra-red cameras to collect evidence. The evidence can then be used to prosecute the vandals who deface the company’s property.
Deutsche Bahn pays almost $10 million per year to rid its property of graffiti. German media reports that each drone could cost about $78,000 to purchase. The technology would fly almost silently up to 495 feet above the ground.
Along with an infra-red camera, the vehicles can also shoot high-resolution photographs, a fact that could help them catch graffiti artists. A “pilot” will remotely steer the drone from the ground, while an operator evaluates the images taken to see if they have usable evidence.
A spokesman for the German railroad added, “We are going to use this technology in problem areas, where taggers are most active.” The drones can fly up to 33 miles per hour. The rail operator added that it will only use the drones above its own depots, not in public areas.
A company spokesman explained that all rail depots will soon be testing out the airborne camera system. However, it is unclear how Germany’s strict anti-surveillance laws will affect the use of drones. While the way the company plans to use them is inside Germany’s strict anti-surveillance laws, their appearance could still cause problems.
Google most recently had problems in Germany when it sent its cameras through the country three years ago, making its “Street View” of 20 cities. Many people objected to their houses appearing online, including Foreign Minister Guido Westerwell, who promised, “I will do all I can to prevent it.”
Because of this, Google was compelled to give people an opt-out form. More than 200,000 householders indicated they wanted their homes blurred out. Along with the country’s anti-surveillance laws, drones are a widely debated topic worldwide.
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