Graffiti may be considered art by some, but for Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s railway operator, it’s a pure form of vandalism that will be stopped by using anti-graffiti drones.
The decision might seem a bit harsh, but if you come to think a bit, it makes a lot of sense. Rail cars represent one of the favorite targets for the vandals. I can’t find any justification for their act, aside from the a probable desire of increasing the exposure of their “works of art,” since the rail cars are on the move across the country all the time.
The prejudice caused by the vandals cost Deutsche Bahn 7.6M euros (approximately $9.8M), so it’s understandable why the company is looking desperately for solutions to stop the vandals. Gerd Neubeck, the company’s security chief, stated in an interview for Spiegel Online: “We must find new ways to fight graffiti,” and apparently anti-graffiti drones are the ideal solution.
Anti-graffiti drones seem to be anything but cheap, as Deutsche Bahn will have to pay 60,000 euros ($77,500) a piece. Allegedly, the drones would come with infra-red surveillance cameras that record the vandals as they’re breaking the law. Such evidence could help law enforcers arrest the vandals and get them prosecuted. The anti-graffiti drones operate almost silently and can fly up to 150 meters high. In these conditions, I hope those cameras have really good sensors and a powerful enough zoom.
Germany has made the news in the past years because of its strict anti-surveillance laws. When Google wanted to introduce Street View to this country, thousands of people expressed their concern that their privacy would be violated. As a result, 200,000 German homes were blurred on Google Maps. On this particular matter, BBC’s Stephen Evans declared: “Germany seems to be entering a legal gray area. It is not clear when the flight of a drone may become so extensive that the wider authorities need to intervene.” Deutsche Bahn emphasized the fact that the drones would not go anywhere outside the boundaries of its property, so German people should relax.
I salute Germany’s initiative and I consider that these drones should make their way to other countries, too, provided that no one’s privacy is violated. You know what other country could use a few thousand anti-graffiti drones, if only it could afford them? Greece!