Ben Gurion University's FOV
Ben-Gurion University's fish-operated vehicle
Photo: Ben Gurion University
A gold fish in BGU's drivable fish tank

Like a fish out of water? Israeli team trains goldfish to drive

Ben-Gurion University team's research uses a computer, camera and electric motors to prove fish have cognitive capabilities outside water, with some even being better drivers than others

Reuters |
Published: 01.10.22, 13:28
Goldfish are capable of navigating on land, Israeli researchers have found, after training fish to drive.
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  • The team at Ben-Gurion University developed an FOV - a fish-operated vehicle. The robotic car is fitted with lidar, a remote sensing technology that uses pulsed laser light to collect data on the vehicle's ground location and the fish's whereabouts inside a mounted water tank.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    A gold fish in BGU's drivable fish tank
    A gold fish in BGU's drivable fish tank
    A gold fish in BGU's drivable fish tank
    (Photo: Ben Gurion University)
    A computer, camera, electric motors and omni-wheels give the fish control of the vehicle.
    "Surprisingly, it doesn't take the fish a long time to learn how to drive the vehicle. They're confused at first. They don't know what's going on but they're very quick to realize that there is a correlation between their movement and the movement of the machine that they're in," said researcher Shachar Givon.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    Ben Gurion University's FOV
    Ben Gurion University's FOV
    Ben-Gurion University's fish-operated vehicle
    (Photo: Ben Gurion University)
    Six goldfish, each receiving around 10 driving lessons, took part in the study. Each time one of them reached a target set by the researchers, it was rewarded with food.
    And some goldfish are better drivers than others.
    "There were very good fish that were doing excellent and there were mediocre fish that showed control of the vehicle but were less proficient in driving it," said biology professor and neuroscientist Ronen Segev.
    Showing that a fish has the cognitive capability to navigate outside its natural environment of water can expand scientific knowledge of animals' essential navigation skills.
    "We humans think of ourselves as very special and many think of fish as primitive but this is not correct," said Segev. "There are other very important and very smart creatures."
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