German railways hope to fight graffiti with thermal imaging drones

Drones aren't just for war, creating airborne logos or patrolling Aussie beaches. If German railway operators have their way, they'd be used to capture graffiti artists, too. Motivated by the high cost of property damage incurred by spray-painting vandals (around 7.6 million euros / $10 million a year), the Deutsche Bahn will soon begin testing miniature helicopter-style drones in the hopes of identifying those responsible. Each remote-controlled chopper is equipped with an infrared sensor capable of thermal imaging and producing high-resolution photos that would be useful to authorities. The tiny aircraft can also fly up to 150 meters (500 feet) and as fast as 33 mph and would cost about 60,000 euros ($77,550) each. The Bahn assured the public that the mini drones will be restricted to highly targeted areas, which should help allay those privacy concerns.

[Image Credit: thierry ehrmann, Flickr]