Are you sitting comfortably? Right, let’s begin.
As you know, cars are tested relentlessly before we ever drive one. They’re crashed, frozen, blasted with hurricane-force weather, and baked under paint-fading spotlights. Suspension is rattled. Engines are thrashed. All in the name of making the finished vehicle as reliable and painless to own as possible.
And this, dear reader, is why you now find yourself learning about a robotic sweaty bottom designed by Ford. Meet – and we hope you’ve not recently had lunch – the Robutt.
Robutt, says Ford, is designed to simulate ten years of post-gym workout backsides impacting a defenceless car seat, in just three days. The robotic arm is outfitted with a synthetic bum “based on the dimensions of a large man, heated to 36° C, and soaked with 450 millilitres of water”.
Just think. Someone – perhaps a talented engineer with hopes and dreams, who’s spent years grafting for a degree and looking for their big car industry break – has had to design that. A dummy derrière. Warm and moist, to best replicate the in-a-hurry Ford owner who doesn’t have time to shower between spin class and the school run.
Ford proudly tells us that “Robutt sits, bounces and twists in a seat 7,500 times over the course of three days.” Apparently, the simulation is the best way to ensure Ford’s seats stay looking fresh, even if they’re owned by a personal trainer in a hurry. Or an accountant with very poor personal hygiene.
With that, we invite you to click play on what will hopefully be the most bizarre piece of internet you consume all day. Watch Robutt doing its stuff erm, behind the scenes, and you’ll win a new respect for what cars have to go through before they leave the factory. Even anticipating their human overlords not bothering to wash before driving.
The cheek of it.