VIDEO: Drones are latest weapon in war on graffiti in San Jose

 

SAN JOSE (KRON) — San Jose has a new weapon to fight its war on graffiti–drones.

There is a lot of evidence that getting rid of graffiti like this as soon as possible discourages the taggers from coming back. But often times, the tags are on freeway overpasses and places that aren’t easily accessed.

But now, that problem appears to have been solved, and on Wednesday, we got a demonstration of how that might work.

KRON4 got a look at the prototype for something called GRAD or Graffiti Removal Automatic Drone.

It was one of the highlights of the third annual Civic and Government Tech Showcase.

Its inventors are entrepreneurs Candace Marbury and Chris Farmer.

“We live in downtown San Jose, so there is something gratifying about finding a solution to something that can improve the community we live in,” Farmer said.

“One of the benefits of being in Silicon Valley (is) we are surrounded by innovations in the way drones are being used, so in the brainstorming process, we just found a way to repurpose things,” Marbury added.

Such a tool could save the city millions of dollars in graffiti removal and could be deployed faster virtually anywhere.

The graffiti-fighting drone was awarded first prize in the Unleash Your Geek competition championed by San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

“With this device, we will be able to get to those locations that are on Caltrans property or railroad property and that will help us get ahead of the taggers,” Liccardo said.

The developers are also at work on version 2.0, which will literally walk, crawl, or crawl up the side of a building or freeway overpass to get at those hard to reach tags.

Don’t look for those drones flying over the freeway anytime soon.

There are still some bugs to be worked out in terms of safety and how the drones might interact with traffic.

Caltrans is also very interested.

A spokesman told KRON4 that a lot of the money that should be going to fix potholes is going to graffiti abatement.

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