Ford Designed a Sweaty Robotic Ass to Test Car Seats

The latest version of the “Robutt” replicates a sweat-soaked ass.
Woman in a hot car.
Image via Shutterstock

The car I drove in college was an absolute biohazard. Not counting other fluids that spilled, sloshed, and otherwise stained the upholstery, I spent a lot of time sweating through road rage during central Virginia summers while driving to and from the gym. After several years of this abuse, the driver’s seat somehow didn’t fully disintegrate.

In drivers’ damp buttcheeks, automaker Ford saw a need. To make its car seats better able to withstand the moisture coming off a driver’s ass, Ford designed a sweaty robotic butt to test. They call it the Robutt.

According to the Ford Europe blog, the Robutt is based on the dimensions of a large man. The butt is heated to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit to mimic average body temperature, and 450 milliliters of water is fed through it to mimic perspiration. The moist butt is rubbed on the seat using a robotic arm 7,500 times over three days, representing approximately one decade of a driver’s damp derriere on the seat. It wiggles back and forth each time, to replicate how one might move around while driving.

Ford first exposed its robotic ass to the world in 2016, with a non-moist version of the Robutt that tested seat durability. The moisture was introduced in 2018 for the Ford Fiesta, and Ford plans to roll out Robutt-approved seats for all of its cars in Europe. It’s unclear whether Ford has plans to sweat-test seats for US cars to save them from American drivers’ humid butts.

This latest iteration of the Robutt is specifically made to test for something most gamers, and most drivers during the summer months, can relate to: a sweaty, sweaty ass.