Continental Unveils Trailer Assist Technology
Ford is making waves with its Pro Trailer Backup Assist on the new 2016 version of the 2015 Ford F-150 – the system that allows the driver to steer the truck using a dash-mounted knob that makes backing a trailer an easier task. Now Continental is taking the idea one giant step further with its Trailer Assist technology marketed directly to automakers.
Continental’s new system allows the driver to control his truck or SUV from an Android or iOS device from outside the vehicle – all while spotting himself as the truck and trailer reverse. Yep, this is essentially a remote control for your truck that runs off your phone or tablet.
The system works by using a vehicle-produced Wi-Fi signal to communicate with the smart device. A 360-degree camera system (like on Ford and Nissan) helps the driver spot any obstacles from an overhead view shown live directly onto the Android or iOS controller. From there, the driver controls the brakes, throttle, and gear positions using the touch screen. Let go, and the vehicle stops. The Continental system also incorporates a dash-mounted dial like the F-150 for backing the trailer from the driver’s seat.
Continental says the system is intended to make drivers who lack experience more confident when backing a trailer. It’s also for the seasoned pro who has to back a trailer into a tight space without a spotter. Regardless of who uses the system, it technology is incredibly fascinating. Continental says its Trailer Assist system will be ready for production by 2018. Chevy, Ram, Nissan, Toyota – are you listening?
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Why it matters
The proliferation of technology in the light-duty truck segment is expanding at a nearly exponential level. Trucks now come with exterior cameras, heated and cooled seats, panoramic glass roofs, turbocharged engines, 10-speed transmissions, and even adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist that vibrates the driver’s seat if he’s veered off track. We’ve come a long way since the single cab, long bed trucks of decades past.
It is technology like this that makes everyday life much simpler. Who would have ever though you’d be able to remotely control your truck via a smart phone while backing up a trailer?