Vehicle seats do more than just cradle an occupant. A seat is also a makeshift knee rest, a stepladder, a desk, a tray and sometimes, a bed. A seat has a tough job and should address occasional mayhem with comfort, style and sturdiness.
The seats in the Chevrolet Traverse have been stomped on, crushed, and pressed thousands of times to ensure they stand-up to the rigorous demands customers place on them.
Long before the Traverse was available for sale to the public, GM engineers put the seats of the eight-passenger crossover through an intense series of tests to ensure high quality, maximum comfort and long-term durability.
GM seat validation engineer Mario Zaccagnini and his team used state-of-the-art robotic technology to test the comfort and integrity of the seat cushions, as well as the seat frames and their attachments to the vehicle body. The robots simulate a variety of body types entering, sitting and exiting the vehicle. Programmed to mimic the range of motion of actual customers, the robots are sort of a cyber derriere. The front seats undergo up to 50,000 entry and exit test cycles which represents well beyond ten years of typical customer use.
Rear seats are subjected to testing regiments as well, including the Seat Adjuster Easy Entry Durability Test. GM engineers designed the industry-first Smart Slide® second-row seat so that a 7-year-old child could safely unlock and move the seat out of the way.
“It was mandatory for us to maintain the quality of the mechanism of the seat but at the same time enable passengers, especially younger ones, to easily access the third-row seats”, Zaccagnini said. His team’s validation plan involved sliding the second-row seats fore and aft 15,000 times which equates to more than a lifetime of use and abuse.
Zaccagnini and his colleagues know that Traverse customers frequently kneel on seats to grab packages, groceries and children from other parts of the vehicle. To ensure seats hold up to heavy knee use, the team used a knee-form plunger that simulates a human knee pushing down and applying force on different parts of the seat cushions. This helped engineers assess the long-term integrity of the seat cushion foam, fabric, suspension system and seat warmers. Engineers subjected the seat cushions to well beyond a decade’s worth of knee load exposure – a total of 30,000 robotic test cycles.
Some of these cycles were performed in extreme conditions with temperatures ranging from 5 degrees F to 140 degrees F and humidity of up to 80 percent.
“With a family vehicle, we think creatively about how a seat is going to be used. Knowing that family life means ‘expect the unexpected,’ we go the extra mile to deliver seats that satisfy customer needs in all situations,” said Zaccagnini.
Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 140 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com
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