Believe it or not this robot's job is crucial to Ford's success.
It’s not just factory employees that are at risk of having their jobs taken by robots, now it’s humans themselves. Ford is no stranger to finding ways to streamline production—first by introducing the world to the assembly line and then by adopting robot workers once the technology became sophisticated enough—but it now even designs the seats of its cars to fit specifications outlined by a robot. The robot itself is designed to mimic a set of human buttocks (which is why Ford named the apparatus “Robutt”).
Its task, as one might expect, is to repeatedly sit into prototype seats and get up—over and over and over again. According to MIT Technology Review, the mechanized badonkadonk is designed to test the durability of its car seats by replicating over ten years of expected use in about three weeks' time.
Before putting the Robutt to work, Ford uses pressure sensors to gather data on how actual human beings get in and out of cars. It then inputs the data into the Robutt’s computer so that the device can replicate the act of sitting in a car seat about 25,000 times, the amount a person is expected to get in and out of their car during a ten year time span. If a seat design passes the test, Ford gives it the Robutt’s seal of approval and allows production to commence. As hilarious as it might sound to spend so much time obsessing over how people get in and out of cars, it’s the small things like these that impact long-term quality.