If you are one of the many truck owners who have a hard time hooking to a trailer, Ford Trucks now has you covered. The truck manufacturer just announced industry-first technology that leverages artificial intelligence to help make hitching a truck and trailer as easy as pushing a button.
The all-new Pro Trailer Hitch Assist helps make hooking to a trailer a breeze by using the rear camera and corner radars to align the hitch with the trailer coupler while simultaneously controlling the truck’s speed, steering, and braking to stop at just the right place. Pro Trailer Hitch Assist is now available for F-150, F-150 Lightning, and the all-new Super Duty.
“Pro Trailer Hitch Assist is another smart solution to save time for our customers. Instead of struggling to hitch a trailer alone or with a spotter, customers can now get hitched more confidently and on their way to the lake or a job site,” says John Emmert, Ford Truck general manager.
To use this new feature, first, you need to ensure the trailer coupler is positioned higher than the hitch ball. Then, simply push and hold a dash-mounted button while monitoring the backing-up progress on the truck’s large center screen display. Pro Trailer Hitch Assist uses advanced machine learning technology to detect the hitch ball, trailer, and coupler at distances of up to approximately 20 feet.
As the truck backs up to the trailer, the system figures out the best path to follow. Computer vision is used to precisely detect both the hitch ball and trailer. The result is less time required to back up to a trailer with improved confidence. Ford claims it even helps experienced trailer towers by reducing time lost to maneuvering mistakes.
Ford collected a large volume of data to develop Pro Trailer Hitch Assist’s machine-learning algorithms to detect a broad variety of trailers of varied sizes and types on different terrain and in various weather conditions.
The Pro-Trailer Hitch Assist technology was developed in-house, by Ford’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems team. During the development, Ford received 60 patents.
Pro Trailer Hitch Assist joins a suite of driver-assist technologies already available for F-Series. Among these features is Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which makes backing up a trailer as easy as turning a knob to indicate which direction the trailer should go while reversing into position.
While some might find this unnecessary while hooking to a trailer, I am sure that many will welcome this advancement and be using it every time they connect to a bumper-pull trailer.