Germany’s national railway operator Deutsche Bahn spends about €7.6 million (£6.5 million or USD$10 million) each year to clean graffiti from its trains. In order to reduce the amount of yearly cleaning fees, lately the railway operator has announced that it has planned to deploy anti-graffiti drones to catch those vandals who deface its trains.
Deutsche Bahn has mentioned that in 2012, its trains were defaced about 14,000 times and to clean up those the operator spent about $9.8 million. So, to catch the vandals who deface the trains with graffiti, Deutsche Bahn has decided to use anti-graffiti drones under compulsion.
German media has reported that the drones have been made by Microdrones, and each drone cost about €60,000 or $80,000. The drones will fly almost silently up to 150 meters (495 feet) above ground with a top speed of 33 mph or 54 km/h, and will be able to monitor rail yards for more than 80 minutes at a time. Although the drones will be controlled from a central command post, they’ll also be able to fly on autopilot for up to 25 miles.
The company will start testing drones at graffiti “hot spots” such as the big German cities of Berlin, Leipzig, Cologne and Hamburg, where vandals enter at night and spray-paint carriages. The drones will be nearly silent, and will have GPS tracking and sensitive infrared cameras to shoot thermal images of its train depots at night. An operator will evaluate the images, which Deutsche Bahn will use as evidence for criminal prosecution.
When Deutsche Bahn was asked how many drones it has bought, the operator refused to say anything. But the rail operator has said that the drones will only be used on company property and that buildings and people outside would not be filmed, in line with German anti-surveillance laws.