Ford invent robot buttocks to test car seats 0

Ford has come up with a novel device to help its engineers perfect customer comfort: the Robutt.

The Robutt is a robot (surprise surprise) set of buttocks that helps the company test the wear and tear that can be expected from ten years of driving a new car.

With the ability to repeatedly sit on a car seat 25,000 times in three weeks, the Robutt copies the effect a average sized man’s ‘butt’ would have on a car seat after ten years of use.

Ford started by testing the Robutt on the new Ford Fiesta, but it has since been integrated into the testing process for all Ford European vehicles.

‘A robot has been created to move like a human bottom and perfectly simulate how drivers and passengers get in and out of their car seats,’ the company said.

Engineers at the company first had drivers sit on pressure maps to determine what they called a ‘perch pattern’.

The Robutt then copied the most common positions drivers tend to sit in which in then repeated over and over again to replicate ten years of sitting.

Ford durability engineer Svenja Froehlich said: ‘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.

‘With the Robutt, we are now able to replicate very accurately how people really behave.’

She added: ‘Using a metallic butt we measure the deflection and softness of the seat when a person sits.’

Froehlich said the test allowed her to analyze ‘every strain in a new Fiesta seat’.

The car manufacturing procedure is almost entirely mechanised these days with robots performing most of the production process. Ford’s innovation has even found a cyber equivalent to the human buttocks.

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