Vid Picture a massive robotic arm gloved with a damp, arse-shaped cushion twerking into a chair for three days straight. That's how automaker Ford tests the durability of its car seats, at least in Europe.
The car biz, which now fancies itself a mobility service company, revealed its backside simulator, referred to as "Robutt," when it rolled out its 2018 model year Ford Fiesta in Europe.
The robotic bottom – more a backside attachment for a robot arm than a machine undo itself – was initially used to simulate material stress over time in dry conditions.
Now, the Robutt has been enhanced to sweat, because exercising and then driving is apparently commonplace. Ford development engineer Florian Rohwer explains, "Cars are a part of our everyday lives, and at this time of year in particular, so is exercise. The 'Robutt' is a great way to check our seats will look good for years to come."
The Register isn't entirely sure why Rohwer would argue that exercise would be more a part of our everyday lives during the rather chilly month of January (at least for those in the Northern Hemisphere) than it would at other times of the year. But let's assume he's channeling social pressure to atone for holiday season indulgence through physical punishment.
As described in a Ford video, the "Robutt" is heated to human temperature and injected with about half a litre of water through tubes at the business end of a Kuka industrial arm. The serial shifting of this posterior proxy suggests a tedious solo game of moist musical chairs.
"For the sweat test, 'Robutt' simulates a decade’s worth of car use in just three days as it sits, bounces and twists in the seat 7,500 times," says Robert Wallis, a social media writer for Ford Europe, in a blog post. "Based on the dimensions of a large man, the robotic bottom is heated to 36° C, and soaked with 450 millilitres of water."
According to Wallis, the "Robutt" has graduated from the Ford Fiesta and is to be used for all Ford vehicles in Europe. Ford towel not included. ®