These drones could be used to pollinate plants in case bees go extinct
With the global bee population under threat of going extinct in the face rampant use of toxic pesticides and climate change, we are facing a scary future as bees are responsible for pollinating 80% of all flowering plants, including 70 of the top 100 human food crops.
Thankfully,researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have been working on long-term solutions to this problem and have come up with a solution that could have come straight from a sci-fi novel: robotic bees.
By reproducing some of the complex wing motion patterns and aerodynamics of fruit flies, in particular, researchers in the university’s newly opened Robohouse, a hub for Dutch expertise, believe they will be able to create swarms of bee-like drones to pollinate plants when the real-life insects go extinct.
The wings of the robotic DelFly beat 17 times per second, to generate the lift needed to stay airborne and control its flight through small adjustments in their wing motion. These drones can travel at up to 15 mph, are more efficient in their flight than those with helicopter-style blades, meaning their batteries can last longer. They can be fitted with spatial sensors so that they autonomously fly from plant to plant, avoiding each other and other obstacles as they go.