How Ants Avoid Traffic Jams | ScienceTake

How Ants Avoid Traffic Jams | ScienceTake


Ants are great tunnelers. That’s how they make
their nests underground. But even they run into traffic
jams, like this one here. That’s not surprising. But the solution is.
Experiments with fire ants showed that the key to
avoiding jams and solving ones that do
occur is idleness — 30 percent of the ants do
70 percent of the work. And that turns
out to be ideal. Add more ants to
the working pool, and productivity suffers. It’s not that any
particular ants are lazy, or that they know how to
avoid jams completely. Ants do pile up. But they’re easily
discouraged by a jam and good at backing
up and turning around, allowing the remaining
workers to continue digging. Some of the ants don’t
even go near the tunnel. The researchers tested
their ideas about optimal ant behavior
using robots and magnetized spheres. With simple instructions
to gather the spheres, the robots all rushed to
work at the same time. The result: gridlock. But with some idleness
programmed in, the robots were
more productive. Here you can see the original
group versus ones programmed to think more like ants. In the real world, this
kind of programming could make robot swarms
more effective at searching disaster sites
or delivering drugs inside the body. So why don’t ants just
make wider tunnels with more room for digging? Well, here’s what happens
in a wider tunnel. Sometimes, it’s hard
to hang onto the sides. And sometimes, they
completely lose their grip. How embarrassing.

16 thoughts on “How Ants Avoid Traffic Jams | ScienceTake”

  1. Ants are an incredibly engineered intelligent species, but as we borrow adapt and learn from other specials, cultures and groups, but we aren't ants. We have to many human variables. Rage, bias, politicizing or racializing interactions, varying population car culture, youth or geriatric driving… Won't work! Can but won't.

  2. So next time I am caught texting at work I will explain how I am taking idle time to increase the productivity of the distributed self organization of my work group.🤣

  3. I've seen an ant fall off a wall it is pretty embarrasing for the ant lol. This video of the ant falling was kinda sad cause it reminded me of the falling man cover from Time Magazine.

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