The 2016 model-year Ford F-150 pickup truck will introduce a new towing innovation, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, to make the challenge of backing up a trailer easier for drivers of all skill levels, Ford Motor Co. said.
Backing up a trailer can be tricky. The truck’s front wheels have to be turned the opposite direction the driver wants the trailer to go. Turn too hard and the trailer can hit the vehicle, or jackknife. Whether the driver works alone or with a spotter, backing up a trailer can be a nerve-racking experience.
Pro Trailer Backup Assist is designed to take the frustration out of backing up. The driver rotates a knob to indicate how much the system should turn the trailer. The technology automatically steers the truck to turn the trailer the desired amount.
“Pro Trailer Backup Assist is a smart solution to save time and increase productivity for our customers,” said Doug Scott, marketing manager for Ford Truck Group.
Using advanced camera technology, Ford engineers developed the trailer tracking system strategy and tested it for almost a decade. Along the way, Ford earned five patents for the technology, with 10 more pending.
To view a Ford video that demonstrates Pro Trailer Backup Assist, click on the photo or link below the headline.
Pro Trailer Backup Assist joins a suite of driver-assist technologies already available on the redesigned 2015 F-150. Among these features is Curve Control, which helps drivers maintain control of their vehicle by automatically reducing torque and applying four-wheel braking. This can reduce vehicle speed by up to 10 mph in approximately one second, assisting drivers in staying on their intended path.
The available lane-keeping system is designed to help prevent a driver from drifting outside of the intended driving lane. The system can detect the left- or right-hand road lane markings using a camera mounted between the windshield and rearview mirror. A vibration in the steering wheel alerts the driver. The system can also provide steering torque to help guide the vehicle back into the lane, if needed.
Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support use radar in the front of the truck to measure the distance and speed of vehicles detected ahead. Taking this information into account, the F-150 can automatically maintain a consistent following distance set by the driver. The speed will be maintained if adaptive cruise control is activated and the vehicle is traveling at least 15 mph.
Collision warning triggers visual and audio alerts, if the system detects that the following distance is diminishing too quickly and a collision may occur. It also pre-charges the brakes if the driver needs to stop suddenly.