I will discuss ongoing (and future) work related to a new project undertaken in the CEI-lab. This involves integration of honey bees into Bio-Cyber Physical Systems. Social insects are capable of robust sustained operation in unpredictable environments far beyond what is possible with state-of-the-art artificial systems. Honey bees are the premiere agricultural pollinator bringing in over $150 billion annually. A colony causes pollination by dispatching tens of thousands of scouts and foragers to survey and sample kilometer-wide areas around their hive. Thus, the colony as a whole accumulates vast information about the local agricultural landscape, bloom and dearth — information that would be very informative if available to farmers and beekeepers.
The first aerospace revolution started in 1903 with the Wright brothers successful sustained powered flight, opening up the skies for manned flight. The second aerospace revolution came in the early 1950’s with the first commercial jet airliner, the de Havilland Comet, which made affordable air transportation available to the masses. The third aerospace revolution takes the pilot and fossil fuels out of the aircraft to drastically improve cost, safety, reduce noise and improve the user experience to enable a new way of moving through the sky.The size and cost of sensors and electronics have come down so significantly, primarily due to the smart phone industries mass production of products; additionally, electric motors, controllers and batteries have become more power and energy dense due to automotive and electronics industries, that today, drones and personal aircraft have become technically and economically feasible for the masses. This talk will attempt to show the trends that are making personal air travel possible in the next 5-10 years and how Robotics and Electric Propulsion will be the enablers.