Discrete and Process Automation

Watch an Autonomous Robot Designed to Pollinate Flowers

11 September 2018

To counteract the decline of the world’s natural pollinators, a team from West Virginia University designed BrambleBee. The autonomous robot inspired by bees uses mapping and localization technologies for path planning, motion control and manipulation as it pollinates bramble, blackberry and raspberry plants in a greenhouse.

Just like bees, BrambleBee first finds flowers and then keeps track of their location, using this information to plan the best path to reach them. During an inspection pass of the greenhouse, BrambleBee collects data about flower cluster locations and pollination readiness with the aid of lidar and an on-board camera, after which plant rows are mapped. The robot determines where to first pollinate flowers by balancing the number of reachable flower clusters that are ready for pollination and minimizing the distance driven.

Its manipulation arm distributes pollen into pistils without damaging the flowers. The researchers expect the autonomous technology to enable other agricultural applications such as harvesting, pruning and fruit picking.

BrambleBee, the precision pollination robot. Source: West Virginia UniversityBrambleBee, the precision pollination robot. Source: West Virginia University

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com


Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Advertisement
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter
Advertisement
Find Free Electronics Datasheets
Advertisement