Ford uses a robot named RUTH to quantify the human touch of quality
While buyers often find it hard to specifically define, they are quite capable of discerning premium character when they feel it. That's where RUTH, Ford's latest bit of advanced technology, comes into play. Officially the Robotized Unit for Tactility and Haptics, RUTH brings a new dimension to the process of creating a truly people-pleasing interior by providing engineers and designers with mathematical data that allows them to more effectively determine perceived sensations like hardness, softness roughness and comfort.
Using a process that compares these objective measurements to information culled in the traditional manner -- directly from human evaluators -- the interior development teams can determine exactly what customers say constitutes an optimum touch/feel for any given element, whether it be seat cushions, control knobs, the steering wheel rim or any other component. Once those idealized tactile maps are finalized, RUTH then supplies data to implement the finest option into mass production.
Originally launched in the automaker's European product development centers, RUTH made the cross-ocean trek to America last January and has since been busy doing her part to help make life more pleasant for potential 2013 Fusion owners.
"We are going further for our customers by more accurately and quickly assessing our products' performance," notes Eileen Franko, Ford craftsmanship supervisor. "RUTH simulates the motor skills of a real person, allowing us to get precise measurements that explain what the customer wants. Engineers can take the findings and implement them. Thanks to the data provided by RUTH, we can be sure the customer who buys a car like Fusion will experience the same type of quality they might feel if they were to buy a high-end luxury car."