Removing Graffiti with drones
Faced with a persistent graffiti problem, the city of San Jose is turning to drones as a potential solution. After launching an “Unleash your Geek” contest to generate ideas on how to remove graffiti from high or difficult to reach places such as overpasses and freeway signs, leaders announced a graffiti-removing drone as the winner.
Traditionally, cleaning up unwanted graffiti would be done by using large cranes and having dozens of workers on site to manually do the job. Clean-up projects like these can be costly for the city, with a recent cleanup costing close to $60,000. The contest was, therefore, a way to generate new ideas to solve this problem, ideally with a more cost-effective solution. Upon contest completion, it was announced that the winners were entrepreneurs, Christopher Farmer and Candace Marbury, with their idea of a graffiti removing drone, which they have named GRAD — Graffiti Removed by Automatic Drone. The idea is that the drone will be used to spray white paint in order to cover up the graffiti. “When this thing really works well, we’re going to see cities throughout the country wanting to buy this incredible product,” said the Mayor of San Jose in Silicon Beat.
While the first prototype was used to spray white paint onto a canvas in their presentation, the couple is working on updating their prototype and a version 2.0, which will travel up the side of buildings and crawl to remove graffiti. While the project is still a work in progress, their hope is to have these in effect in San Jose for summer of 2018.