Ford's robotic butt simulates a decade of sitting in a Fiesta
Durability engineers at Ford tasked with putting the Fiesta's new seats through its paces have been lent a helping hand, courtesy of a robot designed to replicate the jiggle of a human butt.
The so-called Robutt is based on the dimensions of an average large man and was trained to simulate how drivers and passengers get in and out of car seats. By planting its robo-behind on the Fiesta's leather over and over, the engineers were able to build pressure maps that tell a tale of wear and tear over time.
And time was the chief concern when it comes to motivation for the Robutt. Ford says that over a decade, a human user will hop in and out of the seat 25,000 times, a period of usage that Robutt is able to simulate in three short weeks.
"From the first moment we get into a car, the seat creates an impression of comfort and quality," said Svenja Froehlich, a durability engineer, at Ford's European HQ, in Cologne, Germany. "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."
Pleased with the success of its testing in the Fiesta, Ford says the Robutt is now being put to work in all Ford vehicles across Europe. You can see it in action in the video below.