Jan 2, 2040
Will a robot demonstrate exceptional speed and performance in extreme environments by 2040?

The field of robotics has seen tremendous advancements, with robots being designed for various applications such as search and rescue, exploration, and recreation. One of the ultimate challenges is to create a robot capable of outperforming humans in navigating a wide array of demanding physical environments. This robot would need exceptional adaptability, strength, speed, dexterity, and endurance, and must be able to handle extreme and diverse conditions that surpass human capabilities.

Will a robot achieve unparalleled speed and performance in extreme environments by 2040?

Resolution criteria:

This question will resolve to "YES" if, before January 1st, 2040, a robot is publicly and credibly demonstrated to have the clear ability to achieve exceptional speed and performance in each of the following domains:

  1. Cave Exploration:

    a. Navigate through complex subterranean networks, including passages narrower than 18 inches (45 cm), vertical shafts deeper than 500 feet (152 meters), and submerged sections longer than 0.5 miles (0.8 km).
    b. Successfully map an unexplored cave system spanning at least 15 miles (24 km) within 96 hours.
    c. Exhibit proficiency in speleological techniques, including ascending and descending vertical shafts at a rate exceeding 4 feet (1.2 meters) per second.
    d. Withstand high humidity, water saturation, and temperatures from 23°F (-5°C) to 113°F (45°C).
    e. Operate autonomously in complete darkness for at least 14 days without significant performance degradation.
    f. Endure sharp and abrasive surfaces while maintaining structural integrity and functionality.

  2. Ocean Swimming:

    a. Achieve a sustained swimming speed of at least 10 mph (16.1 km/h) for a duration of 12 hours.
    b. Navigate diverse aquatic environments, including open ocean, underwater caves deeper than 500 feet (152 meters), and coral reefs with clearances smaller than 3 feet (0.9 meters).
    c. Dive to depths of at least 4,921 feet (1,500 meters) and withstand the associated pressure.
    d. Resist currents exceeding 4 knots (7.41 km/h), wave heights over 30 feet (9.1 meters), and water temperatures from 23°F (-5°C) to 113°F (45°C).
    e. Demonstrate proficiency in utilizing underwater propulsion systems with an efficiency of at least 85%.
    f. Operate autonomously in low-visibility conditions for at least 48 hours without significant performance degradation.

  3. Mountain Climbing:

    a. Demonstrate the ability to scale a representative set of famously hard-to-climb mountains and natural rock formations, as outlined in this question.
    b. Exhibit a climbing speed of at least three times the average human climbing speed in all conditions.
    c. Demonstrate the ability to autonomously navigate and climb diverse terrains, adapt to various weather conditions, and use appropriate climbing techniques and equipment.
    d. Function at altitudes above 26,000 feet (8,000 meters) for at least 14 days without significant performance degradation.

In addition to demonstrating the ability to meet the criteria for each domain, a successful demonstration must be accompanied by a publicly accessible report or documentation detailing the robot's design, capabilities, performance metrics, and the specific challenges faced in each environment.

The question will be resolved using the question creator's discretion, possibly in consultation with experts. Additional details or clarifications may be provided as needed.

Sort by:
JimHays avatar
Jim Haysbought Ṁ30 of NO

These might all be possible, but I’m not sure what the benefit would be in building a single robot that does all of these vs special-purpose robots

MarkIngraham avatar
Mark Ingraham

Robots are a poor mode of transportation for all those tasks unless you just mean a normal boat. Drones also have no issue, you are better off not touching the ground at all.