Walmart Files Patent for Autonomous Robo-Bees, or ‘Pollination Drones’
OutdoorHub Reporters 06.26.18
Yes, you read that correctly and no, you didn’t slip into some sort of bizarre AI dimension. Walmart has applied for a patent for robo-bees that could potentially help make up for the dwindling number of pollinators that fertilize our planet’s crops, and much of the food the company sells.
According to USA Today, the retailer’s patent was published back in March with the U.S. Patent Office, but no further updates have been provided. The patent describes “pollination drones” that act just like bees, pollinating crops autonomously.
The potential disappearance of bees has been near the top of the list of concerns in agriculture for quite some time.
Not so much for crops like wheat, rice and corn – who only need a little wind to pollinate – but many fruits, nuts and vegetables – including apples, peaches, blueberries and almonds – depend on pollinators to reproduce.
For this reason, many different schemes have been tested to try and fill the shoes of those buzzing little helpers, but Walmart apparently thinks they can finally pull it off.
Now, companies file patents that never go further than the “what if?” stage all the time, so it’s unclear how dedicated Walmart really is to the idea of robo-bees, but it certainly makes you think. . .
In a statement, Walmart told USA Today:
“We’re always thinking about new concepts and ways that will help us further enhance how we serve customers, but we don’t have any further details to share on these patents at this time.“