Ford has revealed it’s tested the seats in its newest car using a robotically controlled bottom that tests wear and tear and comfort.
Imaginatively named ROBUTT has been developed to mimic a human’s posterior, including getting in and out of a car up to 25,000 times over a period of three weeks, to simulate ten years’ worth of human use.
The robot apparently represents the “average-sized man”. It looks like a stuffed torso and is measured using pressure maps integrated into the seats to make sure it exerts exactly the right pressure every single time, in a variety of driving positions.
The company also measured comfort when it developed the Ford Fiesta seats, using another, less human-like robotic butt, which measures the deflection and softness of the seat, charting this on a graph to check it offers the best experience possible.
Previously, Ford used actual humans to work out the best designs for its seats, although expecting a middle-aged man to do this 25,000 was probably a little too strenuous for human testers.
“From the first moment we get into a car, the seat creates an impression of comfort and quality. Previously, we used pneumatic cylinders that simply moved up and down,” Svenja Froehlich, a Ford durability engineer explained. “With the ‘Robutt’, we are now able to replicate very accurately how people really behave.”
Apparently, Ford isn’t the first company to pressure-test its creations using a robotic bottom. Both Samsung and LG use robots to see how it smartphones stand up against being sat on – all unique applications of a robotic ass to make sure products perform exactly as you expect them to.