Nov 27, 2018

Auto connecting TrailerWe have just learned that a technology company called Semcon in Sweden has developed an automatic system to connect a car and a trailer.

Last spring, Semcon asked people for examples of products that were lacking women’s perspectives – and received more than 500 suggestions. A number of them mentioned how complicated it is to connect their car to a trailer, making them feel insecure when towing trailers, heavy horse boxes, caravans and boat trailers. A survey carried out by Inizio/Semcon shows that 50 per cent of people prefer not to use a trailer at all. And of them, 70 per cent are women.

An all-women team of product developers, took on the challenge. The objective was to create a concept for a smart, user-friendly solution that’s also futureproof for autonomous cars. The new towing concept, known as Automatic Trailer Connection (ATC), connects itself to the trailer. While you stay in your car.

“The wonderful thing is that this concept is based on the smart systems that cars are already equipped with nowadays. Given the vast amount of money that’s been spent on product development in the automotive industry over the past 80 years, it’s strange that nobody has done anything about trailer tow-bars when so many people find it to be a complicated solution. New perspectives can sometimes be needed,” says Sofie Askenbom, project manager for the Add Perspectives team.

How the ATC concept works:

When the car and trailer are about two metres apart, the car’s camera sensor can identify the trailer and connection begins. The driver presses “Auto Attach” on the in-car display and the car reverses autonomously towards the trailer. The car and trailer are both connected to the cloud, which allows them to communicate and position themselves correctly. Instead of a tow-bar, there’s a socket in the car’s bumper that secures and powers the trailer. No more cables are needed. It’s just like plugging in an ordinary device, and the connection is made autonomously by the car itself.

Will we see this on North American vehicles? Ford already has a similar system available on their trucks. Perhaps improving the trailer towing experience would bring more people into boating.

Find out more at semcon.com/addperspectives

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