When Black mirror bee robots become a reality
And if pollinator drones replaced endangered bees ? Like the Black Mirror series and its episode “Virtual Hate” on bee drones, the disappearance of bees is not a fiction.
The population of bees continues to decline. The solutions to save them remain insufficient and are slowly being put in place. But they are responsible for a third of the world agricultural production. So they are essential to our survival.
In this critical situation, companies are working on robotics and especially drones. Walmart has filed a patent for autonomous robotic bees. Technically called “pollination drones”, they could potentially pollinate crops as real bees by transporting pollen from one plant to another. Sensors and cameras would detect the location of crops.
If this innovation can be realised, what about the safety of these drones ? As in the Black Mirror series, one could imagine a potential hacking of drones for malicious purposes.
There is also the question of the autonomous flight of robots. Combining GPS data and artificial intelligence, the goal is to let the Robobees fly independently in the fields, alongside the bees.
However, it’s very difficult nowadays to define the behaviour of a swarm of drones, even though at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang in 2018 we saw 1 218 fly together. One also remembers the targeted malware triggered during the opening ceremony. Computers, official website and internet connection had to be stopped. We feared that the informatic worm, that was spreading between the machines, would impact drones. They too had to be off too.