A recent Newsweek article highlights Walmart’s filing for a “Pollination Drone” patent earlier this month that would be capable of pollinating flowers and crops the same way a bee would. The drone would be fitted with cameras and sensors to identify pollen in one flower before taking it to another.
The robo-bees would also have sticky bristles that can extract the pollen and keep it held until the pollination drone arrives at another flower.
“In recent years, the amount of pollinators has been in steady decline, which leads to reduced fertility and biodiversity of crops and reduced crop production,” according to the patent filing statement. “While there have been attempts to fertilize crops by pollinating the crops via crop dusting, blanket spraying of pollen onto crops from an airplane flying above ground is non-targeted, and a significant percentage of the pollen may not reach its intended targeted crops due to the speed of the moving airplane and intervening wind.”
Learn more about this story, as well as other patent filings Walmart has made in an effort to keep up with Amazon’s entry into produce and flowers, in the original Newsweek article.