15:44 22 March 2017
The way penguins co-operatively hunt for fish when they are hungry has inspired the development of tools that ensure computer code in smart cars does not crash. The tools are designed to look for safe ways to organise code in the same way that penguins seek food sources in the open sea.
Prof Yiannis Papadopoulos, a computer scientist at the University of Hull that developed the software, said that engineers have often turned to nature for good solutions to tricky problems. For example, the way ants pass messages to each other has helped telecoms firms keep telephone networks running. Also, many robots have been designed based on the ways animal move.
Commenting on using penguins as inspiration, Prof Papadopoulos said: "Penguins are social birds and we know they live in colonies that are often very large and can include hundreds of thousands of birds. This raises the question of how can they sustain this kind of big society given that together they need a vast amount of food.
"There must be something special about their hunting strategy,"
He added: "They forage in groups and have been observed to synchronise their dives to get fish. They also have the ability to communicate using vocalisations and possibly convey information about food resources.
"This solution has generic elements which can be abstracted and be used to solve other problems," he said, "such as determining the integrity of software components needed to reach the high safety requirements of a modern car."