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Couple Invents Drone To Remove Graffiti Remotely

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- The process of removing graffiti is long, expensive, and at times inconvenient. But one couple says they've come up with a plan to fix that.

The couple invented a drone that can remove graffiti remotely.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, "If you want to get graffiti off a bridge, you have to shut down a freeway."

The city of San Jose spends over $1 million each year to remove graffiti.

Caltrans spokesperson Bob Haus said, "Every dollar we spend removing graffiti is a dollar we don't spend filling potholes."

But there may be a quicker, cheaper alternative.

Candace Marbury and Chris Farmer won the city's Unleash Your Geek competition, outfitting a drone with a spray can that can be used to remove graffiti remotely.

"We saw drones as a great solution. It flies. It's untethered. They're increasing in the amount of payload they can hold, as well as the ability to customize sensors for safety," Marbury said.

The husband-and-wife inventor team not only showed off their prototype, but also gave a glimpse of a second-generation model capable of scaling the sides of buildings, bridges and overpasses.

Their invention faces some regulatory challenges, including a current, federal rule that prohibits flying drones over people or cars.

Farmer said, "There are certain regulations that state you're not allowed to fly over people or cars. But on the flipside, there is a way to petition for exceptions with the FAA."

And the city seems confident they'll eventually be able to bring their graffiti removal costs down by sending a drone up.

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