The idea of automated towing is still in an early stage. No, there isn’t a robot that can automatically back you into a tight spot. There’s no artificial intelligence quite yet that can alert you to problems on the road that would disrupt your trailer. There are quite a few perks in the 2023 Ford F-150 Supercrew Tremor that help you with trailering, though.
My favorite feature has to do with the cameras. In a recent test, I helped a family member move to the next town over. We rented a U-Haul trailer and connected up for a few quick trips with couches and dressers, plus all of their other gear.
The cameras helped me keep an eye out on all of their belongings. You can scroll through quite a few options, including one that shows the hitch. If you owned the vehicle, you could also attach a portable rear camera to keep an eye on the back of the trailer and look for any problems like gear that is slipping out or too much trailer sway.
Interestingly, Ford also lets you configure your exact trailer. In my case, I went through the setup to add the 8-foot rental trailer.
Another pleasant discovery is that if you have a trailer attached like I did on moving day, the F-150 deactivates the cross traffic alerts. Thank you, no more beeps! That’s a nice touch.
IN terms of actual automations, there’s a bit of a catch on that. To use the automated steering when backing up, you have to affix a label to your trailer, something that I’m sure U-Haul would not have allowed — I didn’t even ask. Thankfully, I’ve tested this feature before with a Ford rep at an event and remember how it saved a ton of time. It’s called Pro Trailer Backup Assist and it means you can use a dial to automate backing up a trailer.
The real innovation there is that you can turn a dial to steer, and “right means right” in this case. Normally, when you back-up a trailer, you have to steer the opposite direction for your maneuver. I recall testing the feature and being able to do the backup within seconds.
I’m sure Ford will take this much further.
In the future, I expect there to be more automations with trailers. For example, I’m sure the next step is to automate the actual driving as well. Imagine pulling into a construction site, identifying where you need to back-up with your trailer using the touchscreen, and then just letting the truck do all of the driving into that spot, including steering and braking.
For now, it was cool to see all of the angles you can imagine for the trailer and see if there were any problems. That day when we moved, I noticed a tarp was starting to flap too much using one of the camera views. I pulled over, secured the flap, and was on my way again.
That’s a time-saving factor for sure, but there’s also a safety benefit. Securing the tarp meant I was also securing what was under the tarp. You can see everything, and the trailering aspects are much more intuitive. In the end, it made me want to pull a trailer more often.