Robotic pollinators resemble oversized bees equipped with wheels and an arm. This technological innovation is designed to address the pressing issue of natural pollinator scarcity, such as that of bees, which poses a significant challenge to global food production. In response to this challenge, researchers at West Virginia University devised a robotic pollinator.
The model created by Yu Gu, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the university, features a six-armed robot intended to assist with pollination in greenhouse environments, accommodating a variety of crops. The purpose of robotic pollinators is twofold.
For the long term, the robotic pollinator aims to care for individual crops with optimized efficiency, ensure food production during periods of insect decline, and provide value-added services such as crop data tracking. Discussing the operational vision of the robotic pollinator, Yu Gu stated: “It maps out the environment, and once the robot has a general idea of the environment, it will build up a more detailed mapping of the plants and know where the flowers are and which flower needs to be pollinated.”
By operating 24/7, robotic pollinators offer greater efficiency than humans, reducing labor costs and enhancing food yields. They can work continuously, day and night, even in harsh conditions. Moreover, their ability to collect and analyze crop data gives growers precise control over their cultivation, enabling more informed agricultural decisions.
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