Benefits of “see-through trailers” are clear


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A new technology is being developed by Land Rover that would make a Welsh icon disappear.

The firm is working on a see-through trailer concept that would completely remove the blind spot created when towing a caravan or trailer.

Europe’s biggest trailer maker, Ifor Williams Trailers, have provided trailers that have been used for testing purposes.

According to Land Rover, the transparent view would allow the driver to clearly see vehicles coming up behind and help driver confidence by improving visibility whilst manoeuvring.

The prototype Transparent Trailer system fitted to a Range Rover combines the video feed from the vehicle’s existing surround camera system – which includes the reversing camera and a camera on each wing mirror – with a video from a digital wireless camera that is placed on the rear of the trailer or caravan.

The video feeds are then combined to create the live video images that make the trailer behind appear see-through.

When the trailer is coupled to the towing car, the live video feed would automatically appear in the rear view mirror inside the vehicle.

Andrew Reece-Jones, the Design Engineering Manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “We are delighted to be able to do our bit to help Land Rover with this exciting project.

“This is cutting edge technology that could produce massive benefits for people towing our trailers.

“The Transparent Trailer system has massive potential and would revolutionise towing, making it easier and safer.”

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, 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 what 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 when driving or manoeuvring, making towing safer and less stressful.”

“When reversing, the driver would also be able to view the camera feed from the back of the caravan or trailer through the infotainment screen, with guidance lines calibrated to help reverse both car and trailer.

Ifor Williams Trailer have welcomed another innovative idea which they say is perfect for their horseboxes.

Land Rover have also just unveiled a prototype called Cargo Sense.

It is an in-car trailer monitoring system that combines a remote video camera inside the trailer and a mat of pressure sensors on the floor, with both linking wirelessly to the towing vehicle.

They are also developing a Cargo Sense App that allows drivers to monitor the status of the trailer and cargo remotely via their smartphone.

Andrew Reece-Jones added: “We have been mightily impressed with what we have seen of this.

“We pride ourselves on the fantastic safety record of our trailers and this technology can make them even safer to tow.”

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