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BERLIN (AP) — Germany's national railway operator will soon be flying small drones over its tracks, bridges and stations to keep a watchful eye out for vandals spraying graffiti. Deutsche Bahn said Tuesday some 14,000 incidents of graffiti were reported in 2012 alone, costing €7.6 million euros ($9.8 million) in cleanup costs. In the coming weeks it will test whether drones might help as a deterrent, give Deutsche Bahn the chance to dispatch security personnel, and provide evidence that could be used in court. Germany-based microdrones GmbH produces the test units worth about 60,000 euros each. They are battery-powered four-rotor helicopters that can be equipped with thermal or regular cameras. They can remain airborne 80 minutes and have a 40-kilometer (25-mile) range on autopilot, reaching speeds of 54 kph (34 mph).
More importantly, what are they going to do if a drone finds somebody? I know they say "to be used in court"... but really: Send out thugs? Call the police? So whose drone does it become at that point? Would it now be a privately owned police drone?