DYK There’s a FISH OPERATED VEHICLE and GOLDFISH can drive better than you
I’m sure you’ve heard about goldfish lacking a substantial memory. Which led you to believe goldfish are just plain stupid right? Right? Wrong, they aren’t as dumb as we’ve been led to believe.
As a matter of fact with a little training goldfish can be trained to drive. As part of a scientific study, researchers built the six goldfish participating in the study their own car, called a Fish Operated Vehicle, shown above. It’s essentially a fish tank equipped with wheels.
Teaching Goldfish to drive
The researchers taught each of the six fish to drive the FOV over 30-minute driving lessons. They organized the sessions three times a week, every two days, reported Ars Technica.
The scientists placed a pink corrugated board on the ground. If the fish successfully navigated to the target, they received a treat as a reward.
The six Goldfish very quickly picked up the skills needed to steer the fish operated vehicle.
By the end of the study, the goldfish were able to hit the target at 15 times during every 30 minute session. But the scientist were still skeptical about their driving ability.
They suspected the goldfish — despite their reputation — had simply memorized the route to the target. To change things up they moved the starting position of the FOV, moved the target around, and added dummy targets of assorted of colors.
The goldfish adapted to the changes in the testing area quickly. Showing they don’t deserve their reputation, the fish reliably navigated the vehicle exactly where it was supposed to go.
The Driving Goldfish Study Results
The results of the goldfish driving study, according to the researchers, suggest that they’re nowhere near as dumb as most people assume The ability of the fish to find their way through the course indicates that they can understand and form an internal representation of the world around them.
Not only that, the fish were able to do so despite significant interference. After all, they had to deal with the Plexiglass walls of the tank and all the distortion and reflections that introduced to their vision.
Now, the researchers are curious whether they’ll be able to replicate the results by putting terrestrial animals into water. That’s why they’re planning to build tiny submarines for rats.
Rats Have been trained to Drive in the past
A separate study from 2019 gave rats tiny cars to drive around in. And since they’re able to grab things with their feet, these cars actually had a handlebar.
By grabbing one of three small copper bars, the rat car’s engine would start up. The rat was then able to steer its path by touching one bar to turn left, another to turn right, and a third to go straight.
The 11 male rats that participated in the study all learned to drive the ratmobile. However, five of them lived in an environment with toys and other activities, and they turned out to become better drivers.
The purpose of this study was to measure stress levels in the rats. The results showed that going for a drive helped the rats destress.
This means that a Sunday drive is a perfect stress reliever for more than just humans.