How Scientists Are Using Locusts to Make Self-Driving Cars Safer Than Ever Before

Engineers have recently discovered how locusts will be able to help make self-driving cars safer. Saptarshi Das, an Assistant Professor of Engineering, Science & Mechanics at Penn State University, and other researchers built their collision detector based on what they learned after examining how locusts avoided bumping into each other.

See, it turns out that locusts aren’t just single minded eating machines. They have a single neuron called the lobula giant movement detector (LGMD), according to Monday’s issue of the online journal, Nature Electronics. The LGMD is how the short-horned grasshopper prevents itself from getting into a collision with other locusts. Das and his team have built a nanoscale collision detector that works in the same way as the escape response of an LGMD neuron.