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Scientists Teach Goldfish How To ‘Drive’ On Land And It’s Incredible

by : Joe Harker on : 06 Jan 2022 15:15
Scientists Teach Goldfish How To 'Drive' On Land And It's IncredibleBen-Gurion University of the Negev/Alamy

A team of researchers at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel have taught six goldfish how to drive.

We’re not sure how many people ever asked for goldfish to be taught to drive, but the idea behind the experiment was to see if the fish could apply their navigational skills in an unfamiliar environment.

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Incredibly enough the experiment seems to have worked, though it’s still a long way off your pet goldfish being able to chauffeur you around.

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Scientists built a ‘fish-operated vehicle’ consisting of a tank filled with water mounted on wheels with a camera on top. The camera followed the fish’s movement and moved the tank in whichever direction the fish swam, essentially allowing the goldfish to drive around.

The algorithm that allows the goldfish to drive runs off a Raspberry Pi 3B+, and the tank includes safety measures such as a lidar sensor which prevents the fish from driving into the walls.

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Six goldfish were given the challenge to drive their fishtank on wheels towards a particular point in the room in exchange for a reward of food.

They were each given an intensive training course of 30-minute sessions three times a week, during which they were taught to navigate the fishtank towards a pink marker on the wall from their starting point in the middle of the room.

To make sure the fish really understood what they were doing and weren’t just repeating the task from memory – goldfish memories being much better than people think – the researchers began to switch the starting position and add decoy markers to the wall.

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Incredibly, all of the goldfish passed their tests with flying colours, and demonstrated that they are in fact able to figure out how to get around an unfamiliar environment.

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