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New f150 will automatically steer your trailer

Saw this commercial, who would believe it Wonder how it works with a dinky trailer, a 6’ is harder than an 18’ for me,

Does it actually steer for you, or provide some sort of guide? Anyone driven this?

It doesn’t look like it does anything autonomously. It looks like you “steer” the trailer left or right, and some computer calculates how to maneuver the steering wheel to make it happen.

  1. How much does this option cost? 2. It could create a dangerously dependent situation, where you’re in trouble if the option breaks, or you borrow a “dumb” towing vehicle. If one desires this for convenience, one really should learn how to do it the “proper” way FIRST. 3. The accomplishment of successfully backing a trailer by a novice is a HIGHLY pleasurable, when you get it right. I’d miss out on the sense of accomplishment!

I read about this and I think it’s a good idea. I don’t remember the technical details, but there are a whole lot of people who cannot back their trailers. I’ve seen my neighbor go back & forth at least 15 times before giving up and leaving the trailer on the side of the road. His trailer is small enough for a trailer dolly, but I guess he hasn’t figured out yet that there must be a solution for moving a small trailer around one’s property. He’s only in his 50s. :smiley:

One of the most ingenious solutions to backing a trailer I have ever seen was to put a second trailer hitch on the front of the car. It makes backing the trailer incredibly easy, in fact you can back it around the block if you want to.
It has made me wonder about the feasibility of four wheel steering vehicles going to rear wheel steering while operating in reverse.

I wonder…
When my daughter was learning to drive, she couldn’t parallel park. I bought three toy cars, one with steerable wheels, and with those and a small board I was able to show her how to properly steer a car to parallel park it. She was able to do it perfectly every time once she understood it. I wonder of the same technique would work to help learn how to back trainers up?

@the same mountainbike

It worked for me. When I was a kid, I had one of those die cast toy farm tractors with a working steering wheel. I hitched a toy trailer to it and played around with backing the trailer using the steering wheel. I got to be very good at trailer backing with real cars and tractors.

@B.L.E. that is the most novel incredible idea I have seen in a long long time. Front bumper hitch how cool! Wonder if Uhaul will put one on for me!

Cheaper than practicing with the real thing.

LOL, I LOVE it! What a great idea!

Many city tractors or yard horses have front pintle hooks to speed up assembling sets of double or triple trailers.

I bet it don’t come cheap!!! I looked at the F-150’s on display at the auto show a few months ago, most of them were over $60,000 MSRP; the cheapest one on display was $53k MSRP + tax, tags, destination, and dealer surcharge. And none of them had this feature.

Reminded me of a certain one-liner: the news blurb was that 80%+ of US paper money in circulation has some measurable trace of cocaine residue on it. Good thing, because if it weren’t for that cocaine residue, a dollar wouldn’t have any value at all!

Edit, I don’t want to hijack the thread, so I moved the rest of my thoughts to the “What do you think” thread. :wink:

Since the steering is electrically assisted… you can see the steering wheel spinning back a forth as he turns the trailer knob… the computer is doing the rest. I’d guess it is mostly software. The software uses the backup camera as feedback as well… it “see’s” the boat go left after a right turn or the wheel and then turns the wheel back right to follow the trailer around.

From a “how it Works” site:

With the tow package, you will receive six checkerboard stickers. You only need one for each trailer but the F-150 can store up to ten trailers in its memory. The sticker needs to be placed on the front of the trailer where the ball hitch will connect so that it is visible from the rear-view camera.

You also need to program some dimensions from the trailer and the checkerboard stickers into the truck.

Distance from the truck’s license plate to the center hitch ball Distance from the center hitch ball to the front of the trailer Distance from the backup camera lens to the center of the sticker Distance from the tailgate to the center of the trailer’s axle

The camera recognizes the stickers and uses their position in the camera’s frame to determine position so the steering can react accordingly.

I’d be more impressed if it didn’t need the stickers!

I worked for a man part time once. He stored trailers in his barn…mostly boats and snowmobiles in the off season.
He had a hitch on the front of his pick-up and it made moving trailers a breeze in the tight spaces.

The bigger the trailer, the easier it is to back. Mostly because of the longer distance between the hitch ball and the trailer wheels.
That is why a small trailer is always harder to control.

The hardest is the 4 wheel trailers with steerable front wheels, like hay wagons. As a contest at a county fair once, they had an obstacle course and the farmers had to back a hay wagon through the course. It was amazing to watch, but unless you ever tried backing one…you wouldn’t appreciate it.


I’m in favor of anything that reduces time waiting for people to launch or retrieve their boats. Very frustrating waiting on people who seem to have no business being at the dock. You can tell it’s not their first time. They just stink at it. Go practice in a mall parking lot, not once per week at the actual launch…at the busiest times…

Seems like . . by the time you program all that stuff . . you could have the trailer in its slot already. . IF you learn to back a trailer.

My druumer could never get our band trailer ( a short box uhaul style ) up his side driveway to the practice room in back without several dozen re-tries along the 100 or so feet. We’d always have to switch the trailer to my Explorer or I’d have to back his truck.
It was, in fact, easier with Explorer since trailer backing is always easier when the tow vehicle is shorter or the trailer is longer. His 1970 chevy long bed pickup was slightly longer than the Explorer but it could still be done.
He could never get over the ‘looking over the shoulder’ method and use the mirrors like I showed him.

I guess I’m not a believer in “crutches” in lieu of learning! The existence of calculators is no reason not to learn one’s multiplication tables first, for example. Seems to me, anyone who uses this system as a substitute for fundamentals is in for a rude surprise when they have to do things the old-fashioned way. It might make a convenient feature after you learn the fundamentals, but should never be your sloe means of accomplishing the task.

From what I saw, I think its just a glorified back up camera with side sensors. I never had a problem backing a trailer as long as you could see it. That’s my problem now with the high rear windows, I can’t see the dang thing.

I do a friends yard trailer from time to time, it is narrower than my vehicle, so by the time you see it in the rear view mirror it is to latel so open the tailgate and crank your neck

My Father drove a Semi for over 40 Yrs… He imparted a simple bit of wisdom that I still employ almost daily.

When reversing with a trailer…put your hand on the steering wheel at 6 o’clock…wherever you want the tail of the trailer to go…move your hand in that direction. Takes any guess work out of the picture.

Of course the longer the trailer…the slower things progress…the shorter the quicker…that throws people too. I have become seriously adept at trailer moving…and or parallel parking