Today’s show is about locusts.

But it’s not a sign that the end times are near.

This time the locusts might help autonomous vehicles, everything from tiny drones to full size cars and trucks, steer themselves away from collisions.


Locusts are good at this, it turns out.

They can fly in large clouds with millions of insects without collisions.

And researchers have pinpointed how they do it.

Their brains have a special neuron that receives signals when there’s another locust in their path, so they know when they need to change direction.

This locust neuron is the model for a new kind of collision detector.

It’s lightweight, requires low amounts of energy, and can react quickly to nearby objects, all qualities that will help make autonomous navigation become safer and more effective in the future.

Just as long as it doesn’t lead to plagues of robotic drones attacking our crops.


And now that locusts have secured the future of transportation, where would you like to go?

Here’s one idea.

The Daily Beast reported recently on how there’s an online community based around all the different kinds of businesses that have moved into old Pizza Hut buildings after the chain moved out.

Ex-huts have become veterinary offices, liquor stores, even funeral homes.

Hopefully they didn’t leave any old ingredients behind.

Locust swarm could improve collision avoidance (Penn State University)

Hundreds of Pizza Huts Are Closing. What Happens to Those Weird Buildings? (The Daily Beast)

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