Goldfish taught to drive on land, laughing in the face of God

Humanity has explored land, sea, air and space, but most species never get the chance to explore outside of their habitat. Until today, that is, as scientists have given goldfish the ability to drive vehicles.

A journal published in Behavioural Brain Research revealed that scientists are attempting to teach goldfish to drive. Interestingly, goldfish are not only able to drive, but they're learning surprisingly fast.

Israeli scientists teach goldfish to drive

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University, Israel decided to test whether or not non-terrestrial species could navigate terrestrial environments. Using goldfish, the team built a small robotic vehicle that would allow the fish to navigate land.

The animals were given visual targets that could be seen through the transparent sides of the vehicle. Over multiple 30-minute training sections, the fish were taught to maneuverer the vehicle to targets in order to receive food.

As training continued, the fish got increasingly more adept at driving around environments. The fish were not only able to navigate land-based terrain, not their usual habitat, but they were able to do so effectively.

For example, the study notes that the goldfish were able to avoid dead ends the more they trained them. While the species may not have evolved to navigate land, they are able to efficiently explore given the technology.

Watch a video of the fish driving around below:

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What's next for the study?

At the time of writing, the fish have been kept to rather simple environments. For example, small rooms and outdoor straights. For the next phase of research, the team wants to task the fish with navigating more complex locations.

“Further studies are needed to extend these findings to more complex scenery such as an open terrestrial environment,” the team writes. “The findings nevertheless suggest that the way space is represented in the fish brain and the strategies it uses may be as successful in a terrestrial environment as they are in an aquatic one.”

Of course, driving fish is likely not going to become a common sight across the world. Even if it definitely should be. Let those fish drive, man!

For more articles like this, take a look at our News and Robotics page.