Are robotic pollenators being designed?

With the bee hive collapses, growers are desperate for pollenation options. Is anyone working on swarms of tiny flying robots to augment the bees? They could look for a certain color, poke around inside the flower for a moment, and move on to the next. When they need recharging, they fly back to their hive (the same reason bees fly back).

Of course, replacing germinators that run the seeds through their digestive systems would be a different problem.

Answers 1

  • According to Harvard University who are actively working on a Robobees project which has various goals in mind, one of which is autonomous pollination, they see autonomous pollination as being a couple of decades away yet. They admit that the better solution is to remedy the natural problem of Colony Collapse Disorder. I quote from their website:

    One potential application of micro-robotic "insects" might someday be to artificially pollinate crops. However, we do not see robotic pollination as a wise or viable long-term solution to Colony Collapse Disorder. If robots were used for pollination—and we are at least 20 years away from that possibility— it would only be as a stop-gap measure while a solution to CCD is implemented to restore natural pollinators.

    More about that here.

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