Robotic bees for crop pollination: Why drones cannot replace biodiversity

Potts, Simon G.; Neumann, Peter; Vaissière, Bernard; Vereecken, Nicolas J. (2018). Robotic bees for crop pollination: Why drones cannot replace biodiversity. Science of the total environment, 642, pp. 665-667. Elsevier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.114

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The notion that robotic crop pollination will solve the decline in pollinators has gained wide popularity recently (Fig. 1), and in March 2018 Walmart filed a patent for autonomous robot bees. However, w present six arguments showing that this is a technically and economically inviable 'solution' at present and poses substantial ecological and moral risks: (1) despite recent advances, robotic pollination is far from being able to replace bees to pollinate crops efficiently; (2) using robots is very unlikely to be economically viable; (3) there would be unacceptably high environmental costs; (4) wider ecosystems would be damaged; (5) it would erode the values of biodiversity; and, (6) relying on robotic pollination could actually lead to major food insecurity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Institute of Bee Health

UniBE Contributor:

Neumann, Peter

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

0048-9697

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Anna Papach

Date Deposited:

21 May 2019 15:33

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 16:22

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.114

PubMed ID:

29909334

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.127020

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/127020

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