Scientists in the Netherlands say that they can create millions of drones to pollinate plants in case of a collapse in bee populations. Bees around the world are under threat by intensive modern farming methods and the consequences of global climate change. At the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, a team of scientists has worked on a solution. It’s called the DelFly, a drone we reported on earlier.

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Bee populations under threat

Daniel Boffey writes for The Guardian that the team of Dutch scientists:

“Believe they will be able to create millions of bee-like drones to pollinate plants when the real-life insects have died away.

The new drones, which can travel at up to 15mph, are also 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.

The robotic insect has a 33cm wingspan and weights 29g, making it 55 times the size of a fruit fly. It can also only fly for six minutes, or 0.6 miles (1km) on its current battery. But the plan, the university says, is to reduce the size down to that of the insects they are trying to emulate as they develop the robot.”

One of the scientists, Matěj Karásek told the Guardian:

“I think within five to 10 years we will have the technology to make the drones much smaller and we could see them put to use in greenhouses.”

You can read the entire article here.

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Photograph: TU Delft/Science

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