Believe it or not! Scientists recently trained goldfish to drive. Researchers at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel have successfully trained six goldfish to drive a “fish operated vehicle” (FOV).
Scientists want to study the navigating mechanisms of the species in different environments
All fish navigate naturally in water. Scientists’ goal behind this study was to discover whether goldfish’s navigational ability works on land and other environments.
For this experiment, scientists created a small transparent tank of water placed on top of a robot chassis. The tank was equipped with a camera and remote sensing system. The camera tracked the fish’s position and orientation. Using both the systems, the apparatus moved based on the direction the goldfish swam.
When the fish drove FOV up to specific targets, they would be rewarded with food. Researchers even tried a difficult task by shifting the starting point of the FOV.
According to the researchers, the goldfish “indeed were able to operate the vehicle, explore the new environment, and reach the target regardless of the starting point, all while avoiding dead-ends and correcting location inaccuracies,”
Lead researcher Shachar Givon said, “The study hints that navigational ability is universal rather than specific to the environment,”
“Second, it shows that goldfish have the cognitive ability to learn a complex task in an environment completely unlike the one they evolved in. As anyone who has tried to learn how to ride a bike or to drive a car knows, it is challenging at first.”