Another Gift of AI to the future, Robotic Bees for pollination: A boon or bane?
Thanks to Artificial Intelligence what all remained confined to our fantasies, dreams, and sci-fi movies is turning into reality! Advances in this domain are awe-inspiring. Moreover, they are proving helpful for start-ups to develop newer and better ways to micro and macro manage all kinds of tasks.
The most exciting part is that AI offers opportunities for real world problems like climate change, waste management, assistive surgeries, reducing carbon footprint – to name a few.
It doesn’t stop at that! These topics further find more sub-topics and impressive solutions that a wonderfully intelligent tech is bringing to life – to aid humans, to improve lives!
What must we know about the RoboBees?
One such feat is artificial pollination! Yes, you read that right – artificially intelligent pollinators can help farmers and bees, both in the coming future!
Scientists and researchers have been working to develop such amazing little mechanical creatures for years now.
With the aim of creating a robotic bee colony and knowing its basic fundamentals, the RoboBee project was launched in 2009 – to conduct early robotic fly experiments. It was preceded by the DelFly Project, which started in 2005.
Flying micro-robotics have been a keen area of interest for researchers for quite some time now. The goals associated with robotics bees (or micro-robots) are the following:
- mimicking insect flights and rapid wing movement
- to aid pollination artificially
- successful communication
- search and rescue, etc.
If such pollinators get developed, they would promote pollination and consequently aid the farmers wonderfully too! The only issue is, though we are treading on such a path, we still don’t have models which are practical.
What are the major concerns?
Any technological advancement, evidently, takes time. Yes, it offers fantastic solutions, but the process is painstakingly difficult too! For instance, micro-robotics have immense potential undoubtedly, but a practically feasible pollinator hasn’t been developed till date.
There are several factors that come into play – developing a tiny machine requires a lot of skill, subject expertise and intelligence. After all, it is complex to create a miniature version that is mechanical and incorporates the laws of physics too.
Researchers and engineers developing even smaller versions of a previously developed device can’t consider the predecessor for guidance. But, why? When dealing with a small device, the nature of the forces at play doesn’t remain the same. Hence, building a tiny pollinator though promising, is a Herculean task!
Another hurdle is the viability of artificial pollinators. How would they sustain? How will they get charged or have a power supply? Studies and research are being conducted to find solutions to these problems.
The third and most important question revolves around making these artificial insects intelligent – just like the real ones. Yes, AI, ML aim to do the same; but RoboBees are yet to get there. How they will make decisions like wasps, bees and their likes is a tough nut to crack – as the decision-making bit plays a crucial role in pollinating plants.
We all know bees are mandatory for crops – they make pollination successful and that’s how plants bear fruit. However, with their decreasing population, environmental concerns are further rising. To take care of such concerns, researchers have developed a robot bee drone that uses GPS, a high-resolution camera, AI, etc. The aim is to – take care, intelligently and in a modern way!
Clearly, AI won’t fail to impress – be it today, tomorrow or forever! We must remember to explore the new opportunities and ways to use technology to our advantage without harming the environment. That’s one of the primary reasons for developing mechanical insects like the robotic bees!
With innovation and continuous efforts to their aid, artificially intelligent tools will provide solutions for more complex problems. Thus, we all have a great deal to look forward to and get inspired from!