Animals continuously search extant objects to find resources. Here, we report a technique for learning-free steering of behaviors by exploiting a neural circuit that motivates interaction with objects. Photostimulation of medial preoptic area (MPA) neurons that send excitatory signals to the ventral periaqueductal gray (vPAG) induces a strong craving for an object located at the front of the visual field. Inspired by this finding, we devised an MPA-induced drive-assisted steering (MIDAS) technology, in which a head-mounted object and circuit photostimulation can be controlled wirelessly. MIDAS-equipped mice navigate along the programmed path to chase the head-mounted object in novel and fearful situations, but consciously obtain information en route. Thus, the MIDAS system provides a tool for learning-free behavioral control and for studying the neural mechanisms of object exploration and related disorders.