Walmart has filed a patent for “pollination drones” — in other words, robot bees. The retail giant — which has clearly never seen the sixth episode of the third season of Black Mirror, in which robot bees intended for pollination turn killer and attack — has applied for a series of six patents targeting farm automation, according to CB Insights.
The outlet also reported the drones could be used to “identify pests attacking crops, monitor crop damage, spray pesticides, and pollinate crops.” In other words, they are designed to seek and destroy and are armed with payloads of toxins and allergens.
In seriousness, groceries comprise 56 percent of Walmart’s revenue according to Fortune, so advanced farming technology could reduce costs and assist Walmart in getting produce to consumers more effectively. However, the news is seriously freaking social media users out.
This is not the first time Walmart has filed patents for drones. According to Fortune the retailer has applied for 46 other patents using drones, but those focus on delivery, logistics, and warehouse inventory and don’t include swarms of autonomous poison-spraying robots.
Walmart told The Daily Meal, "We’re always thinking about new concepts and ways that will help us further enhance how we serve customers, but we don’t have any further details to share on these patents at this time."
Had no idea Walmart was getting so into technology? Here are 20 things you didn’t know about Walmart. Study up before they become our new overlords.