• Sep 23, 2008
If you think your morning commute looks (and feels) like a bunch of insects randomly swarming toward a multitude of random destinations, you'd be mostly right. But only mostly. Research by the Insect Vision Laboratory shows that like your fellow rush-hour drivers, swarming African locusts are busy calculating the position, direction and speed of the other travelers around them. Unlike all those other drivers, African locusts never run into each other. We'd be willing to argue that's definitive proof most drivers are dumber than common insects.

Volvo, however, sees more than just the obvious. Instead, they see a possible way to keep all those clueless drivers safe by studying just how those locusts are able to avoid collisions.

But there's a lot of work to do before the automaker can put nature to work on the streets. The researchers theorize that the bugs can easily miss hitting each other because they're somehow able to send information straight from their sensory organs to their wings, completely bypassing their simplistic brains. That ability to instantly translate data into action keeps the locusts crash free. The problem is that currently automotive technology can't match the locusts' data-processing talents. So for at least the immediate future, have a little sympathy for those other guys out there. They actually are less intelligent than the bugs stuck in your grille.

[Source: Wired]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah funny post, and interesting too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's not that the locust are smarter.

      It's just that they don't talk on cell phones, apply make-up, style hair, drink coffee or consume 3-course meals while they're swarming.
      s13hybrid
      • 6 Years Ago
      Funny picture, good point on the insects being smarter than drivers.

      This has brightened my day. Thanks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How do they know locusts never run into each other? If they did on occasion, I doubt there would be obvious signs of damage live in auto accidents. And if you were be an observer standing by a highway for a few hours, and not seeing any accidents, you might come to the conclusion that people driving cars never run into each other either.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lol at the insect comment. Watching morons tailgating on the I80, pacing along with other cars in blindspots and then (surprise!) getting into fender benders clogging the bridge, I can back that notion.

      But I think dumb drivers will always be dumb, and doesn't matter how many safety measures you can put on the car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "...We'd be willing to argue that's definitive proof most drivers are dumber than common insects."

      LOL. Nice send up.