German railways to test anti-graffiti drones
Berlin: Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property by vandals at night.
A company spokesman said drones would be tested at rail depots soon. The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night.
But it is not yet clear how Germany's strict anti- surveillance laws might affect their use, the BBC reported.
Graffiti is reported to cost Deutsche Bahn about 7.6m euros (USD 10 million) a year. German media report that each drone will cost about 60,000 euros and fly almost silently, up to 150 meters above ground.
A Deutsche Bahn spokesman told the BBC that its drones would be used in big depots where vandals enter at night and spray-paint carriages. The drones would have infra-red sensors sophisticated enough for people to be identified, providing key evidence for prosecutions.
The drone issue is also sensitive in Germany because earlier this month the defence ministry halted an expensive project to develop Germany's own surveillance drone, called Euro Hawk.