April 26, 2022  |  Wake Up Northwest on NBC Right Now.com

Manoj Karkee reports that WSU’s Agricultural Automation group of the Biological Systems Engineering Department has just begun testing their newest robot. The robot is aimed to produce a more stable and efficient pollination and thinning process. The Robotic Pollinator is built with a camera that can detect flower blossoms and determine which need to be pollinated or thinned. Students are currently trying to find the right stage to pollinate the fruit flowers. This comes from trial and error.

Dr. Karkee is trying to develop a robotic solution that would have a camera that works like human eyes to take pictures and works with a “brain”, a kind of artificial intelligence model running on a computer, that detects flowers, locates them and sends the signal to the controller of the robot. This signals the robot where to start thinning the flowers. Karkee thinks the method could also replace honeybees when the robot learns to pollinate flowers.

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