Twist of a Knob to Make Towing a Trailer Easier with 2016 Ford F-150

New technology modeled on parking assist system.

by on May.21, 2015

Ford is introducing its ProTrailer Assist technology that makes it easier for drivers to back up with a trailer hitched to the truck.

With Memorial Day ushering in the official start of the summer season, expect to see more and more people towing boats and trailers – and to hear more motorists cussing as they struggle to hitch up and move those trailers.

The process can be a frustrating chore, especially for novices, but Ford Motor Co. promises to make it a bit easier with the addition of its new “Pro Trailer Backup Assist” system which will make its debut on the 2016 version of the full-size F-150 pickup. And all it will take is the twist of a knob.

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“Pro Trailer Backup Assist is a smart solution to save time and increase productivity for our customers,” said Doug Scott, marketing manager, Ford Truck Group. “Instead of struggling to back up their trailer, they can spend more time on the job or enjoying the lake.”

Somewhat similar to the new auto-park systems appearing on a number of new automobiles, the Trailer Backup system aims to make moving a trailer a virtually hands-free operation, Ford explains.

A simple twist of a knob makes backing up with a trailer while driving the Ford F-150 much easier.

Part of the problem is that a trailer wants to go in the opposite direction of where the vehicle itself is turning. So, you turn the knob in the direction the trailer, rather than the truck, needs to go. Shift into reverse and take your hands off the wheel. The pickup will automatically direct the truck right to where it needs to go, Ford promises.

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As with the auto parking system on vehicles like the Ford Fusion, the driver still has to operate the throttle and brake pedals, however, the Trailer backup system does have an automatic speed limit, and the driver can watch what’s happening in the side mirrors and backup camera.

Before using the Trailer Backup Assist, a driver has to attach a sticker on the trailer that the system can read, and they need to take four measurements of the trailer and key them into the system. But the pickup can store the measurements of as many as 10 different trailers, which should increase the technology’s appeal to commercial users.

The new “Pro Trailer Backup Assist” system which will make its debut on the 2016 version of the full-size F-150 pickup.

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Ford engineers first came up with idea nearly a decade ago, but began serious engineering work as the latest-generation, aluminum-intensive F-150 was getting ready for production.

The Trailer Assist package will be available on all trim levels of the 2016 Ford F-150 and while final pricing hasn’t been locked down, the maker expects it to come in around $200, on top of any charges for the truck’s standard towing package.

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Ford already offers another system to assist drivers hooking up trailers. The dynamic hitch assist package uses the rearview camera to line things up the F-150 as it shifts into reverse. Ford also has a sway control system that helps keep the trailer under control on the highway.

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One Response to “Twist of a Knob to Make Towing a Trailer Easier with 2016 Ford F-150”

  1. veh says:

    Killer app. Go to any campground and observe the stress where people are backing up into a campsite.

    And a winner for commercial users as well.

    Ford needs to flog this one hard. $200 is chump change on a $45-50K truck

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