Auto Tech

Ford's Robutt is a sweaty robot butt for testing vehicle seats

Of all the things to not be at CES 2019...

I was going to put a pun here, butt then I thought better of it.

It's no robotic Richard Simmons, but Ford's latest robot is all about shakin' its mechanical booty -- for science.

Ford this week unveiled the Robutt, which is a name I couldn't have made up if I tried. It's basically a fake derrière that's meant to simulate a person who's hopping into a car after some exercise. The point of the Robutt is to ensure the automaker's seats can handle a buttload of abuse.

Here's how it works. The Robutt is basically a soft pad attached to one of Ford's Kuka robots. Roughly half a gallon of water stands in for human sweat, and the Robutt "sits, bounces and twists" some 7,500 times. It's meant to emulate 10 years' worth of seat abuse in just three days. Ford also noted that it shaped the Robutt's tuchus to resemble that of "a large man."

Sadly, while this is the one robot people would love to see at CES, it's not there. It's not even in the US -- Ford Europe is responsible for the Robutt, and it'll be used to test seats for Ford vehicles being sold in Europe, so you can bet your butt that a little bit of sweat won't stank up your Euro-spec Fiesta permanently.