Tags: robotic | bees | polination | drones

Robotic Bees, aka Pollination Drones, Are All the Buzz

Robotic Bees, aka Pollination Drones, Are All the Buzz

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By    |   Monday, 14 May 2018 01:49 PM

Robotic bees, called pollination drones, are all the buzz at the moment as Walmart explores ways to pollinate crops amid dwindling bee populations, Inc. reported.

Recent statistics found a 23 percent decline in wild bee populations in the U.S. between 2008 to 2013, according to a news release from University of California, Davis.

The study further noted a mismatch between pollination supply and demand because of the low number of wild bees.

About 75 percent of the world's food crops rely on pollination and, with between $235 billion and $577 billion worth of annual global food production relying on pollinators, bees are extremely important to our food supply, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services noted.

Walmart is hoping to use advanced robotics to counteract the threat posed by decreasing bee population numbers.

The idea is that the drones would use sensors and cameras to locate crops and carry pollen from one plant to another, Business Insider reported.

Walmart filed a patent for the robot bee along with five other patents targeting farm automation and comes shortly after the retailer announced it would be expanding its grocery home delivery services to more than 100 metro areas this year as it steps up a fight against rival Amazon.com Inc.

The patents could signal Walmart's intentions to branch off into agriculture, which would allow the retailer to gain more control over how its produce is grown, CB Insight said.

Walmart is not the first to explore the use of automated bots to address the decline of honey bees.

Harvard University researchers developed autonomous flying microbots, called "RoboBees," in 2013, and in 2017 a Georgia's Savannah College of Art and Design student presented a pollination drone that could be controlled by a smart device, Inc. said.

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TheWire
Walmart is exploring robotic bees, or pollination drones, as a way to pollinate crops amid dwindling bee populations.
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Monday, 14 May 2018 01:49 PM
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