It sounds odd, but Ford has a test for sweaty derrieres. It's all in the name of long-term quality. The automaker showed off its robotic sweaty butt simulator, appropriately named "Robutt," in a Wednesday announcement that explained how the Blue Oval ensures seat quality.
Ford first used Robutt to simulate a decade's worth of drivers sitting in a seat while perfectly dry. The process allowed Ford to see how seats held up under regular conditions. However, we're not always bone dry when we climb into our vehicles. Robutt was then modified to simulate what happens when drivers sit down on a seat after a long workout at the gym or a run. Sweat and moisture obviously react differently with the seats and their materials over a long period of time.
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The robotic butt complete with moisture spends three days placing its artificial hindquarters in and out of a seat a total of 7,500 times. The figure represents about 10 years worth of getting in and out of a Ford vehicle with a sweaty bottom. Ford said the artificial buttocks is heated to 96 degrees Fahrenheit and soaked with about a half quart of water to simulate the dimensions and perspiration of a "large man." The human body is capable of producing almost 1.5 quarts of sweat per hour to cool off an individual during strenuous activity.
Ford first put Robutt to use during the development of the 2018 Fiesta, which is not bound for the U.S. market. Today, the robot carries out its sweaty duties for every vehicle across Ford of Europe's lineup. In 10 year's time, when your Ford vehicle's seats still look pretty darn good, thank Robutt for its work.