New pickup camera systems: Safer trailering

Staff reports
Farm Forum

New camera options for trucks with hitched trailers show what’s going on behind the truck and can help drivers back up more easily and safely.

Chevy is now offering an add-on blind-spot-assist towing package for certain Silverado models, and Ford is offering a patented trailering camera system on its newest F-Series Super Duty trucks.

Chevrolet Trailering Camera System

Chevrolet announced a new trailering camera system will be available for 2014- to 2016-model-year HD Silverados and Silverado 1500 trucks with the available trailer-towing mirrors.

“Anyone who owns a trailer for camping, boating, or for horse trailering, knows how stressful backing up can be,” said Monte Doran, Chevrolet spokesman, “With a push button you see what’s behind the trailer, saving your mailbox, trash cans, or fence. It makes the whole process of a using trailer easier.”

The trailering camera system was designed in partnership with GM’s Chevrolet MyLink team to seamlessly integrate views from trailering cameras into the screen display in the center stack.

Available from Chevrolet Accessories, the trailering camera system is warranted and integrated to work with the customer’s vehicle and is available through Chevrolet dealers.

Chevrolet partnered with Echomaster (a division of AAMP Global) to develop the blind-spot-assist towing package system, which includes three cameras: two side-view cameras, and one for mounting on the rear of the customer’s trailer.

The two side cameras are integrated into the housing for the side-view mirrors, providing improved vision along the sides of the truck and trailer. When the driver activates the turn signal, the system automatically displays the correlating side view in the center screen.

The rear camera is designed to be mounted to the top, rearmost edge of the trailer, providing a view of what’s behind the trailer when reversing. This camera is hardwired to the trailer lights for electrical power, and wirelessly transmits images to the display using a closed wireless network. It also features infrared lighting, enabling enhanced images in low-light settings. The camera is activated when reverse is selected.

The system also supports the use of an optional fourth camera. This can include an additional camera installed inside the trailer, transmitting video to monitor horses, cattle, other livestock, or content during transport.

Chevrolet is also introducing a camera that’s integrated into the center brake light, to show the contents of the bed or to assist with connecting a fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailer.

Any of the four camera views can be activated at any time by pressing and holding the radio Home button for 5 seconds to bring up the camera menu screen to select the desired camera image.

The trailering camera system pricing starts at $999 (not including tax, labor, and installation).

Ford Trailer Reverse Guidance for F-Series

Ford’s all-new 2017 F-Series Super Duty Truck will have an available Trailer Reverse Guidance system that uses cameras to show more angles, monitor conditions surrounding the truck, and provide real-time coaching guidance while maneuvering a trailer. Two patents on the camera system are pending.

Super Duty is the first Ford vehicle to offer up to seven cameras, three of which are used in Trailer Reverse Guidance. These cameras function as more than just digital rearview mirrors:

• A tailgate camera tracks the motion of a conventional trailer to help coach drivers as they back up.

• Two side-view cameras shift the view of the trailer as its angle changes.

• A first-ever factory-available customer-placed camera can be attached to the back of a trailer to improve visibility while backing up.

• A center high-mounted stop lamp camera provides visibility into the cargo box with a Ford-first dynamic guideline, especially useful for easier hook-up of gooseneck and fifth-wheel trailers.

Ford’s Trailer Reverse Guidance system displays a color-coded bird’s-eye representation of truck and trailer on the console touch screen. Yellow or red means the trailer angle is too tight and there is a risk of jackknifing.

Two patents are pending on Trailer Reverse Guidance, including a dynamic steering wheel icon that indicates to drivers which direction to turn to back up a trailer in a straight line and a dual-purpose camera package. Pricing for the 2017 F-Series Super Duty package has yet to be announced.

“If we can help or customers be more productive and effective backing up then they can have more time on the job or for recreation,” said Michael Levine, truck communications manager at Ford Motor Company.