Ford's "Robutt" Tests New Seats
Yes, there is now a robot to test car seats before they're put in cars. And yes, its name is "Robutt". Test dummies, crash tests, etc. are nothing new for the automotive industry, but a dummy specifically for seat comfort is a new thing.
Ford Europe took the idea of "crash testing" to another level when it came to the seat designed for the new Fiesta. It came up with a test rig that is an automated backside similar to a human and it's meant to simulate 25,000 vehicle entries and exits. Ford says the test is to replicate normal wear that would take place over a decade, condensed to the span of three weeks.
Pressure-sensitive seat overlays helped engineers gather not only what they call a "perch pattern", which maps out how various people apply pressure to the seat while operating the car, but also where pressure and friction are applied in order to enter and exit the vehicle.
Unfortunately for all of us here in America, the Fiesta won't be sold anymore so we won't be able to see how well the testing actually holds up. But we'll see what our European friends have to say about it. Is there really a noticeable difference?