Can Goldfish Drive? Yes!! New Science

 Israeli Scientists Teach Goldfish to Steer & Control a Robotic Vehicle

                    Source:  Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Fish Are Smarter Than You Think!

This is not a fish tale; it is real science.  Israeli scientists at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have trained six gold fish to individually drive, control and steer a robotic vehicle to receive treats.  They have developed an FOV or fish operated vehicle.  It consists of a mounted, plexiglass water tank, motorized wheels, a camera to track the fish's location and a computer and lidar to collect data on the vehicle's ground location. It is an awesome example of the intersection of robotic and AI enabled technologies, animal cognitive capabilities and the power of positive reinforcement on the brains of six goldfish.

Breakthrough Technology and Incredible Results

The fish gets control of the vehicle via the computer, camera and omniwheels.  The vehicle moves and reacts to the fish's position. The researchers say it didn't take the fish long to learn what to do.  They were quick to see the connection between their movements and the movements of the robotic vehicle.  The Israeli scientists gave 6 fish ten "driving lessons".  When the fish reached targeted "driving" location goals - specifically reaching a pink section of the lab room's wall, they were given a special treat to reward them for their achievement.

Making the Task More Difficult for the Goldfish to Navigate

The scientists made the target difficult for the fish. They used different colors around the room and moved the pink target to different locations to verify their results. By the way, goldfish can differentiate between different colors, shapes and sounds. Experts says they have a memory of at least 3 months. The room that the fish robotically navigated is 10 feet by 13 feet. The fish continued to find the pink targets and get their treats. The Israeli scientists says some fish were better drivers than others.  But all six, individually, reached the pink targets multiple times. 

Fish Are Much Smarter Than You Think

The lessons the scientists have derived from this research is that fish are much smarter than you think.  They have the cognitive capability to navigate outside of their water environment and onto land.  They learned to control the vehicle, use simple navigational strategies and complete their task of reaching the pink target to get their treat. This study, proving that fish are actually able to navigate a robotic vehicle on land, has just been published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research.  To take a look at many more new findings and innovations, go to


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