Ford is solving the problem of sweaty butts, one giant robot at a time.
When we imagined the robot revolution, we probably didn’t think that robots would come equipped with giant sweaty ass simulators to see if automotive seating can handle a pair of moistened cheeks for hours at a time. And yet, here we are, with Ford sending out a press release like the proud parents of a butt simulator they are.
They cleverly call their invention “Robutt”, and as the name implies, it’s a robotic arm that has a cushion attached to it designed to simulate a “large man’s” bottom. In previous generations of this technology, the “butt mannequin” (Ford’s words, not ours) was completely bone dry, but Ford wanted to see if their seats could stand the test of time in all conditions, including one affectionately referred to by sufferers as “swamp ass”.
Ford specifically mentions the issue of sweaty cracks in reference to post-physical activity, but as we all know, the same condition can be acquired simply by existing in the Southern States during the summer. As such, this technology is highly relevant no matter what your physical fitness levels.
“Testing condenses a full 10 years’ use as “Robutt” sits, bounces and twists in a seat 7,500 times over the course of three days,” write’s Ford. And to get the conditions of a large, sweaty butt perfectly correct, “The robotic bottom is heated to 36° C, and soaked with 450 milliliters of water."
We’d have expected it to be more like a saline solution, but maybe Ford’s keeping that for the next generation of butt simulators.
Robutt’s current regimen of large-sweaty-man-posterior testing began with the 2018 Ford Fiesta, but the oldest automaker in the world is going to roll it out for their entire lineup of vehicles. If we’re lucky, they’ll even import the technology for use in Ford’s North American lineup. It’s not like sweaty butts are a uniquely European problem.