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Anti-graffiti drones? German railways are trying them out


Germany's railways have a new strategy for cracking down on graffiti artists.


Don Emmert

Graffiti-fighting drones will soon be buzzing around Germany's trains. 

Deutsche Bahn, Germany's national railway, is planning to test out small drones in an effort to keep graffiti artists from expressing themselves on the sides of their rail cars. 

The concept? Using small, flying, infrared surveillance cameras at their depots to collect evidence that could be used to prosecute vandals, BBC News reported

If the drones — which cost around $77,600 each — spot suspicious movements, their operators will alert the drone's pilot, who can then control it.

"We must find new ways to fight graffiti," the company's security chief Gerd Neubeck said of the new effort, Spiegel Online reported

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In 2012, Deutsche Bahn recorded 14,000 incidents of graffitied trains, which cost the railway around $9.8 million, according to Neubeck. 

However, the drone program might come into conflict with Germany's strict privacy policies. 

"Germany seems to be entering a legal grey area," said the BBC's Stephen Evans. "It is not clear when the flight of a drone may become so extensive that the wider authorities need to intervene." 

What do you think? Great idea, or invasion of privacy? Let us know in the comments.