Goldfish can possibly drive cars, study says


There are several fascinating scientific discoveries involving animals like how ostrich eggs helped in creating face masks that detect COVID-19 traces and how cats are probably psychopaths. Recently, Israeli researchers taught a goldfish how to drive – and there’s an actual video to prove it.

Scientists from Ben-Gurion University in Israel published a study in the peer-reviewed journal Behavioural Brain Research, which discussed how they trained six goldfish how to operate a robotic vehicle dubbed as Fish Operated Vehicle (FOV).

The FOV was made up of a plastic aquarium that’s mounted on a small platform with wheels. The goldfish can be seen inside the aquarium where it acts as the pilot as it swims to navigate the vehicle.

The early trials were simple: The FOV was placed in the middle of the room and researchers placed pink cardboard on the floor. When the fish managed to move the vehicle across the pink square, then it received a treat. The tests evolved into the fish darting directly at its target.

After a while, researchers then placed obstacles and fake targets in the area so that the fish can get used to the environmental changes. After adjusting to extra features, they noticed how the fish was barely challenged by the obstacles.

Ph.D. student and lead researcher Shachar Givon said in a press release that study hints that “navigational ability is universal rather than specific to the environment.” She said, ‘It shows that goldfish have the cognitive ability to learn a complex task in an environment completely unlike the one they evolved in.’

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Banner: Shachar Givon et al./Ben-Gurion University

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