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GoldFish That Can Drive
Over at Ben-Gurion University in Israel they developed the first FOV. Not field of view, but Fish Operated Vehicle. This little vehicle comes with a bunch of tech equipped to it. Using a combination of sensors, cameras, computers and omni-directional wheels, the craft can keep track of where in the water the goldfish is. It uses laser light to determine it’s ground location and when you combine the two, you end up with a vehicle that is operable by a fish. Before assuming it’s just a goldfish swimming, unknowingly controlling the vehicle then Shachar Givon had the following to say:
“Surprisingly, it doesn’t take the fish a long time to learn how to drive the vehicle. They’re confused at first. They don’t know what’s going on but they’re very quick to realize that there is a correlation between their movement and the movement of the machine that they’re in,”
Why Do This Experiment?
When asked why this researched was being conducted there were some interesting reposes from researchers. Firstly was the argument that showing that fish has a better cognitive ability than first assumed, especially outside of its natural environment will improve our knowledge on animals and their navigation skills. Other animals have also been taught how to drive in the past, namely dogs, a cat and rats. But a goldfish stands out due to it being considered a “dumb” animal. Segev gave this piece of his mind:
“We humans think of ourselves as very special and many think of fish as primitive but this is not correct,” … “There are other very important and very smart creatures.”
And in case you were curious. The fish displayed different aptitudes in driving, some were naturals, others not so much. Similar to humans, some fish are simply better drivers than others. We can’t for the day where a fish can be considered a better driver than most humans, or at least have the potential to be.
Primates Driving Cars
While some primates such as monkeys have been trained to operate simple vehicles in controlled environments, it is not safe or practical for them to operate actual cars on public roads. Even if a primate were able to learn the basic skills required to drive a car, they lack the cognitive ability to respond to the complex and rapidly changing conditions that are encountered while driving in real-world situations.
Furthermore, it is important to note that many countries have laws that prohibit the use of animals as drivers, as this would be considered animal cruelty and a danger to public safety. While there are examples of trained animals performing specific tasks in certain situations, driving a car is not something that can or should be expected of any animal, including primates.
Furthermore, the task of adapting a car for animal use would be extremely challenging and would require a significant amount of technical expertise. The size and anatomy of animals would require significant modifications to the vehicle’s controls, such as the steering wheel, pedals, and dashboard, to make them operable by animals. Additionally, the risk to both the animal and other drivers on the road would be substantial, which is why the use of animals as drivers is prohibited in most countries.
Overall, while it is interesting to consider the idea of animals driving cars, it is not a practical or safe solution to transportation needs
Autonomous Car Driving
It is highly unlikely that animals would be allowed to drive autonomous cars in the near future. While autonomous vehicles can operate without a human driver, they are still subject to strict regulations and safety standards that are designed to protect human passengers and other drivers on the road.
Allowing animals to operate autonomous cars would introduce a number of safety risks and practical concerns. For example, it is unlikely that animals would be able to understand or follow traffic laws and signals, which could lead to accidents or traffic congestion. Additionally, animals would not be able to take appropriate action in the event of an emergency, which could pose a significant risk to human passengers.
It’s also worth noting that most autonomous vehicles are designed to be operated by human passengers, and are equipped with controls and interfaces that are specifically designed for human use. Adapting these interfaces to accommodate animals would require significant technical expertise and may not be feasible.
Overall, while the idea of animals driving autonomous cars is an interesting thought experiment, it is unlikely to become a practical reality in the near future due to safety and practical concerns.