Over the years, we have seen some bizarre ways in which a vehicle is driven, from humans in costumes to dogs and cats, and many more. Recently, one that knocked everybody out cold was a curious case from Israel, where the vehicle was driven by none other than a goldfish. Yes, you read that correctly! No need to do a double-take, a simple-looking fish in your aquarium would be able to control a vehicle.
This incredible feat was achieved by a team of researchers at Ben Gurion University, where
the goldfish was able to not only navigate but also control the vehicle. The entire vehicle that they have aptly christened as a Fish Operated Vehicle (FOV) was developed by the team itself. Their vehicle is completely different from what we see in our day-to-day lives.
There is a lidar system equipped in this vehicle, which enables the fish to actually control the vehicle design. The lidar system is responsible for controlling the vehicle using the pulsated laser lights to assess data and operate accordingly to the movement of the fish. The working of this vehicle is dependent upon many components such as the tank that is placed on top of the vehicle. The fish is placed inside the tank and then comes into play the lidar system, which tracks the movements of the fish and converts them into the mechanical signal for the vehicle to move.
For such a complicated system to work, there have to be many components involved, from
microcomputers, electric motors, omnidirectional wheels, and a camera. The task of making a goldfish learn how to control a vehicle began with training the goldfish with treats. The recorded observations made showed that the goldfish was able to react and adapt itself in order to navigate through the surroundings. With training and time the goldfish’s movement and that of the vehicle came out to be the same, hence the goldfish became the driver of the vehicle. The overall process of the movement of the vehicle is taken care of by the components used. First, the sensor placed above the tank is responsible for scanning the movement of the fish and sending it to the microprocessor that processes the data and sends it to the respective motor as the movement recorded by the sensor and then the omnidirectional wheels take care of locomotion.
There isn’t a lonely goldfish that knows how to drive, in fact, there are a total of six fishes who have gone through the training and are capable drivers. The training process was roughly around ten days for each fish and it was completely based on positive reinforcement. There have also been many cases where we have seen animals driving a car before as well. The technology is the one which is being improved and innovative each time.