Robot Bees Could be Deployed if Natural Population Continues to Collapse

A leading expert told the world’s biggest science conference the technology is now here to programme bee-sized drones to pollinate crops

Robot bees could be deployed if natural population continues to collapse
Image: Harvard

Fleets of robobees could now be deployed if natural populations continue to collapse.

A leading expert told the world’s biggest science conference the technology is now here to programme bee-sized drones to pollinate crops.

Japanese scientists have developed a remotely controlled drone the size of a dragonfly which was able to pollinate lilies.

US scientists have also joined the technology race developing a robobee about half the size and able to flat 120 times a second.

Prof Shashi Shekhar is one of the world’s leading experts in state-of-the-art mapping and said robotic swarms could be the answer to catastrophic food shortages.

He said he expected US funding to be approved for the robobee project within two years.

“There are efforts going on to understand why bee colonies are collapsing,” he said.

“This is a back-up plan. With climate drying if you look at areas like California and the west you are losing lots of trees. If you lose the tress that’s the beginning.

“The next things are probably insects or birds or animals so it’s good to have some insurance.”

The Japanese prototype has been developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tokyo.

They fly using a helicopter-style propeller and used gel applied to horsehair pads to mimic their fuzzy body which helps pollen stick.

Researchers there now plan to create a smaller, bee-sized drone that would use the same technology to carry pollen grains but could fly autonomously.

US researchers at Harvard university had already developed a bee-sized drone weighing less than a gram that has wings that flap similar to the real thing.

Computer science expert Prof Shekhar said Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have now been developed using aerial scans to provide detailed field maps.

Incredibly detailed maps are now used in agriculture and with drones flying over crop fields able to scan and count individual leaves and flowers.

Prof Shekhar, from the University of Minnesota, said: “The big gap when you think about what was missing is you have to have some kind of a map of the flowers.

Got-Bees-Got-Vitamin-A-Got-Malaria“If you made a very detailed map, then offline using these images you could create the location of the plants and the flowers.

“Today these technologies are mature enough that this could be done daily. Then all of this computing and sensing is offloaded from the bee.

“Then offline you can chose the route. Suppose you have a fleet of 10 bees or 100 bees or 1,000 bees, then you can divide up the work.

“You can say to bee number one go to these 10 flowers.

“It’s just like when you look at delivery services like UPS or the Post Office they have to deliver all the letters and pick up all the letters, but it’s all pre-programmed.

1st Bee Species Officially Placed on Endangered Species List 1“Every vehicle knows exactly the route and the stops for pick up and drop off. Imagine a similar thing for the bees.”

He told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this had been made possible by developments in technologies such as LIDAR scanning.

This can assess depth and mass from above and combined with detailed aerial images.

But Prof Shekhar warned fleets of robobees could be hacked or developed by militaries to carry chemical “stings” as a weapon to attack humans.

He added: “There is a food security problem being looked at in the US because of climate change.

“It’s conceivable that from the security perspective some Government labs are trying to create a small group [of bees] in case the commercial sector is not there yet.

“There are things which are classified. I don’t have security clearance to know for sure but there are things they do prepare for.”

Sourcemirror

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

The ultimate one-off camper vehicle

It is the ultimate recreational vehicle - and send to make one four year old extremely happy. The KiraVan, a giant custom built off road...

Scientists Turn Algae into Usable Fuel

Alternative fuel: Algae could replace petroleum fuels. Scientists Turn Algae into Usable Fuel in Less than an Hour Algae has already been touted as a natural...

Charge your phone by SHOUTING at it!

Gadget converts sound waves from speech into five volts of energy for your mobile phone It seems phone batteries always die at the same moment...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

Oklahoma High Schooler’s Carbon Discovery Elicits Wonder From Experts

Taking teenage rebellion to a new level, Oklahoma high school senior George Wang stunned teachers and fellow students when in April he co-authored a...

The ultimate one-off camper vehicle

It is the ultimate recreational vehicle - and send to make one four year old extremely happy. The KiraVan, a giant custom built off road...

China is 3D-Printing Tiny Houses for $5,000 Each

China: Firm 3D prints 10 full-sized houses in a day With housing relief projects in mind, a Chinese company generates 10 modest prototype homes in...

Back screens on trucks may pave way for safer overtaking

The Korean tech-giant Samsung has created a ‘Safety Truck’ which aims to reduce crashes when drivers attempt to overtake long vehicles on one-way roads....

Your Electricity Company Fears this Man

Electricity is the key to unleash world democracy and freedom It’s well know that many wars are fought over resources, many times oil and other...

Baltimore Restaurant Shuts Down For 5 Days To Feed The Homeless Free Food

Each year, Baltimore restaurants look forward to “restaurant week”, a time where the city’s food is showcased and businesses are able to get a...

Fukushima: Over 100 New Radioactive Contamination Sites Found Off North America’s West Coast

New research has found that radiation from the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan has reached more sites off North America’s west...

U.S. Pot Legalization Hurts Mexican Drug Cartels

Marijuana legalization advocates have long campaigned on the claim that ending prohibition will reduce the power of the often violent organized crime networks that...

Trump Taking U.S. to War In Syria To Avert Economic Disaster

Before the alleged gas attack in Syria’s Idlib Province could be independently confirmed, the Trump administration took the Syrian opposition at their word and...