AI Robot Pollinator

Polly, the AI robot pollinator that aims to replace bumble bees

Israel develops the world’s first commercial alternative to bee pollination. Robots are replacing bumblebees as a more efficient and reliable way of pollinating crops.

Arugga, a startup based in Israel, is, for the first time, commercializing robots that mimic the buzzing of a bumblebee. The robot, called Polly, produces strong vibrations to dislodge pollen from the flowers and fertilize them so they can produce fruit. It does what the bumblebee has always done, but with greater success.

Tests in commercial greenhouses in Israel, Australia, and the United States show tomatoes pollinated by Polly had yields up to five percent higher than those pollinated by bumblebees in the traditional way and up to 20 percent higher than manual pollination.

The company says its robots could entirely replace bumblebees, which are vital for the production of tomatoes, blueberries, potatoes, and many other crops. The Polly is an autonomous ground robot that drives down rows of tomato plants in greenhouses, capturing images of every flower and using artificial intelligence to detect which ones are ready to be pollinated.

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