Graffiti-removing drone tested in Washington

The state of Washington has declared defeat in its war on graffiti and called in reinforcements. Expect to see a graffiti-removing drone hovering by a tantalizingly canvas-like wall near you.

Our Tacoma area maintenance crew, led by Mike Gauger, is testing drone technology that can remove graffiti from hard-to-reach places. The team is learning how these drones operate, how they apply paint and if they can cover graffiti. The drone, built from an Aquiline Endure model, uses a spray nozzle and is linked to a paint supply on the ground.

The program is part of a new strategy, and a big infusion of money from state lawmakers.

"Specialized trucks, called UBITs, are needed for hard-to-reach graffiti. These trucks are in high demand, and we have six of them to cover the state. They are usually reserved for higher-priority bridge maintenance and inspection work," the WSDOT said in a new blog on Monday. Mike Gauger, a member of the Tacoma area maintenance crew at WSDOT, is credited with hatching the idea for the graffiti-fighting drones, but there were no off-the-shelf drones being sold for that kind of work. Gauger connected with a drone company called Aquiline, which already had a drone model called Endure used for window washing and roof cleaning.

These drones are $30,000 each and the company that makes them has a broken website—maybe they're too busy "redefinining drones with AI and a specialized Cloud." How did they win the bid? Ah, yes, quite.

Mike researched the use of drones with several manufacturers who produced similar products, and learned that there were no drones being designed to do things like this. He reached out to some drone manufacturers and found one that was willing to collaborate on the design of a prototype system.

Reminds me of police bodycams that for some reason are rented for thousands of dollars per year. Now, lest I contravene the verbal morality statute and get myself fined a dollar, it might be time to implement the complementary drone: