Ford Develops Robotic Butt For Seat Durability

Tue 8th Jan 2019

Ford Europe have developed a unique robot which simulates sweaty bums getting in and out of their vehicles, with the hope of improving seat durability.

Nicknamed ‘Robutt’ the technology uses robot simulations to mimic how the human body gets in and out of cars. A Kukla automation robot is fitted with a dummy bottom, heated to human temperature and given a soggy-bottom thanks to 450 millilitres of additional water, supposedly to simulate a sweaty bum.

Robutt then produces 7,500 actions, including moving from side to side, backwards and forwards, intended to simulate ten years of typical use a car seat would see. These movements are known at Ford as a ‘perch pattern’ and the company uses pressure maps to determine the key areas a posterior will place weight on a car seat.

“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,” said Ford’s durability engineer Svenja Fröhlich.

The system has been put to good use on all Ford’s cars in Europe and Robutt’s technology is likely to be put to good use in the company’s factories on a global basis to improve seat durability.