WATCH | How Ford's sweaty robot tests car seats

Ford's 'Robutt' simulates what happens when sweaty drivers get into cars after a workout

10 January 2019 - 10:10 By Motoring Reporter
Ford's "Robutt" device simulates ten years of sweaty drivers sitting in the car seat. Picture: SUPPLIED
Ford's "Robutt" device simulates ten years of sweaty drivers sitting in the car seat. Picture: SUPPLIED

It might be a subject that bums you out, but carmakers have to deal with all sorts of eventualities when designing vehicles for the long run - including catering to fitness freaks who get into the car sweaty after a workout.

Not every lycra-clad human wants to - or is able to - have a shower before jumping into their car after a gym session, a run or a cycle. Ford is making sure that all this good work isn’t bad news for your car seat with the help of a robotic bottom simulator called “Robutt”.

First used to ensure that the materials used in Ford’s car seats could withstand a decade’s regular dry wear and tear, engineers have now developed “Robutt” to simulate what happens when we get in our cars when we are a bit on the sweaty side.

“Cars are a part of our everyday lives, and at this time of year in particular, so is exercise,” said Florian Rohwer, development engineer, Body and Chassis Labs, Ford of Europe. “The ‘Robutt’ is a great way to check our seats will look good for years to come.”

The average person can produce up to 1.4 litres of sweat per hour during a workout. 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, representing a decade of use. Based on the dimensions of a large man, the robotic bottom is heated to 36° C, and soaked with 450 ml of water.

Introduced in 2018 for Fiesta, the “Robutt” seat test is now being rolled out for all Ford vehicles in Europe.

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.

 

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