We all know that goldfish are terrible at riding bicycles, but they can be taught how to drive. They taught rats how to drive a few years ago, which proved to be therapeutic for the rats, and now the privilege has been extended to goldfish.
How exactly does this work?
The FOV [Fish-Operated Vehicle] is, in essence, a fish tank on wheels. Unlike the rat-mobile, there are no physical controls for the fish to learn to use. Instead, a downward-looking camera tracks the fish's position in the tank. If the fish is near one of the tank walls and is facing outward, the fish-control algorithm (which runs on an onboard Raspberry Pi 3B+) will move the FOV in that direction. A lidar sensor on the same mast overrides the fish control algorithm if the FOV comes within 20 cm of the walls of the terrestrial environment, a 4x3 meter enclosure.
Six lucky goldfish took part in the experiment and they took to the task admirably. This proved the goldfish had a picture of the world outside the tank they lived in. This surprised me. I had a goldfish once and it would certainly react to finger pressed to the outside of the tank, but I wouldn't have guessed it had a good enough geometric picture in its head to be able to drive the tank.
So, why are scientists doing this? Well, they just wanted to see if the navigational skills of fish still operate outside of their familiar environment. It appears they do.
For their next experiment scientists intend to find out if a hippopotamus can be taught to play the violin.
CitationScientists train goldfish to drive a fish-operated vehicle on land by Jonathon M Gitlin on ArsTechnica.
: No, not really.