PCBWay 3rd PCB Design Contest

Bio-Inspired Pollination Robot

About the Project

There has been an ever increasing decline in the bee population from climate change, diseases and horrific disasters such as the 2020 bushfires that plagued Australia. Dr Anneke Veenstra from Deakin University postulates that bees are responsible for ’pollinating 70 of around the 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world’ and preserve the world’s food chain. This project aims to provide a FW-MAV that can pollinate flowers emulating the behaviour of a bee, also known as a biomimetic solution.

The project is based on a long term Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle (FW-MAV) platform being developed at Konkuk University in South Korea. The particular design comprises components from their KUBeetle-S.The platform's electronics consists of micro-linear servos, a motor driver and a camera module with bluetooth transmission. At the center of it all is an Arduino Nano that controls each module and serves an interactive webpage where the user can view camera feeds, flight data and control parameters. A computer vision algorithm is used on the camera feed to locate and provide path planning to move the FW-MAV to the flower. The current prototype of the platform is made from carbon fibre and glass fibre components. With the integration of a dynamic stability control system, the platform is able to perform a stable hover and move freely.

About the Team

The project team is based in South Australia at The University of Adelaide. We are composed of 4 fifth year mechatronic engineering and computer science students partaking in an honours project as part of the final year of engineering. We hope to create a FW-MAV platform for our project as it is an exciting opportunity for us all in a field that interests us greatly. The team is supervised by a University professor and is provided support from the university workshop staff as well as other resources. This project will be presented in Adelaide by the team at the end of the year and will be continued in years to come as future honours projects.


The FW-MAV is designed as a set of flat pieces that can be assembled to form the physical embodiment. Multiple manufacturing methods have been considered with the condition that they must be able to cut 1-2mm thick pieces and achieve boring diameters of 0.8mm. With COVID-19 limitations placed upon the University, it was no longer feasible to manufacture the assembly in-house and out-sourcing is required. With the original intention of using carbon fibre as the material, it was deemed unnecessary whilst researching FR4, a common material used for PCB boards. FR4 was found to suit the platform's structural requirements whilst being a more cost-effective solution to alternatives. With PCBWay’s support, the platform's pieces can be cut on a single FR4 board in a timely manner whilst adhering to strict tolerancing.