|13 February 2017|
Japanese researchers have shown that tiny artificial drone pollinators could help save crops from the threat posed by declining honeybee numbers.
Using a sticky gel on an aerial drone, scientists from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have demonstrated their ability to act as artificial pollinators.
“High-performance robotics can help counter the decline in honeybee populations,” the AIST team revealed in the journal, Chem. “We believe that robotic pollinators will be able to move smartly and learn the optimal pollination path by using GPS and artificial intelligence.”
While in its early stages, this is a vital breakthough and points to one potential solution to the disastrous impact falling bee numbers will have on food production.
“Bees and other pollinating insects play an essential role in ecosystems. A third of all our food depends on their pollination. A world without pollinators would be devastating for food production,” Greenpeace said.