One of the main issues when towing a trailer is how it can block your rear-view vision. For the longest time, the only solution was to have extended mirrors that would allow you to see around the sides of the trailer. But what if you could really see through the trailer like it wasn't there? It may sound like science fiction, but Land Rover has developed a system that does just that.
The British automotive company has developed a see-through trailer prototype that incorporates what they call the Transparent Trailer system. The system uses video feed from the vehicle's surround camera system, which consists of a backing-up camera, side mirror-mounted cameras, and a wireless camera mounted on the rear of the trailer. The live video feed from each of the cameras is then combined to create a live video image of a see-through trailer. And this feed is displayed in the most natural location--the vehicle's rearview mirror.
According to Jaguar Land Rover's director of research and technology, Wolfgang Epple, the high-quality live video feed shows no distortions, thus allowing the driver to make the right decision when maneuvering around traffic. When reversing, the trailer-mounted camera becomes a backing-up camera, and the video is then displayed on the infotainment screen. For added safety, the reversing guidance lines are calibrated to the vehicle with a trailer.
Of course, Land Rover didn't just stop there. Its engineers also wanted to make sure the precious cargo being hauled is also safe. Cargo Sense helps the driver monitor the loading and unloading of cargo via a wireless camera, while a pressure-sensitive mat makes sure the cargo is loaded evenly. The system gives a Check Cargo warning if there are any irregular movements in the trailer, helpful for those hauling delicate cargo like antiques, classic cars and even horses being transported to equestrian events. The Cargo Sense app allows drivers to remotely check on the status of both the trailer and the load while being away from the vehicle. If the trailer's temperature is beyond the safe levels or if someone is trying to break into the trailer, an SMS will alert the owner.
Land Rover is demonstrating its see-through trailer prototype at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, which is running until September 6. Come to think of it: It would be interesting to have a demo of this trailer on our roads. Let's hope we see this technology get into production soon.
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