How Land Rover can make your car trailer 'disappear'
Land Rover is developing technology that effectively allows drivers to see through a caravan or trailer they are towing.
The system works by using a video feed from a vehicle’s existing camera system – which includes a reversing camera and a camera on each wing mirror – and combines it with a video from an additional wireless camera on the rear of the trailer or caravan.
The two sets of images are then combined by the in-car computer to create a single video that appears in the car’s rear view mirror showing only the unobstructed view of the road behind
Help with reversing
When reversing, the driver would also be able to view the ‘see-through’ camera feed from the back of the caravan or trailer on the dashboard ‘infotainment screen’ used also for sat-nav and radio and music controls.
The image will include guidance lines calibrated to help reverse the car and trailer.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover’s director of research and technology, said: ‘When you are overtaking, it is instinctive to check your mirrors.
'But if you are towing your vision is often restricted with large blind spots. Our Transparent Trailer project is researching how we could offer a view out of the vehicle unrestricted by your trailer, no matter its size or shape
'Our prototype system offers a very high quality video image with no distortion of other cars or obstructions.
'This means the driver would have exactly the right information to make safe and effective decisions.’
The technology is being demonstrated in a prototype Range Rover research vehicle at the Burghley Horse Trials this week.
Land Rover is also showcasing a new ‘Cargo Sense’ system to help drivers check whether their trailer cargo – from horses to household contents – is loaded evenly and uniformly and not shifting around dangerously in transit.
The new system combines a video camera inside the trailer and a mat of pressure sensors on the floor, both of which link wirelessly to the towing vehicle.
The system sends a warning to the dash to alert the driver to an issue before it becomes serious.
Live footage from the camera in the trailer is viewed via the ‘infotainment’ screen. A related app also allows the driver to check the status of both trailer and load when away from his vehicle.
‘A permanent video feed through to the dashboard from the trailer has the potential to distract the driver from the road ahead,’ Dr Epple said.
‘So instead we are developing a more intelligent system that is able to detect a problem with the horse in the trailer and warn the driver.’