Ford Adds a Hightech Butt to its Stable of Robots

first_imgLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Over the years, robots have taken on a number of different duties in the automotive industry. They simplify warehouse operations and help out with the assembly process. Some stand in for humans when tests need to be performed.Not just impact testing, either. Ford, for example, has started using a robot to perform a very specialized set of tasks related to a vehicle’s seats. It’s essentially a high-tech butt. The company’s engineers even refer to particular piece of equipment as Robutt.Despite its tongue-in-cheek nickname, Robutt is actually doing important work for Ford. A vehicle has to accommodate humans of all shapes and sizes and that moment where your cheek first hits the seat is critical to establishing how you feel about the whole driving experience.Ford starts off by having actual people sit in a driver’s seat that has been covered with a pressure-sensitive pad. Data from that pad then gets fed into a testing system, which sets the stage for Robutt.Robutt is packed with sensors and mounted on an arm that lets it enter a test vehicle set up in as many different ways as the human testers did. To test a single seat design, Ford will have Robutt sit down and get up around 25,000 times.According to Ford, that’s around ten years’ worth of action… and it all happens in just three short weeks. It would literally be a pain in the butt for humans to perform this kind of testing, but Robutt can handle it without missing a beat.“Previously, we used pneumatic cylinders that simply moved up and down,” durability engineer Svenja Fröhlich. That’s not a terrible precise way of doing things. “With the ‘Robutt’,” she adds, we are now able to replicate very accurately how people really behave.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *