Ford has rolled out a new feature for F-Series vehicles, including the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup, called Pro Trailer Hitch Assist which uses artificial intelligence, computer vision, and machine learning to automatically back up and align a truck’s hitch ball to a trailer coupler with just a push of a button.
This means pickup truck owners who are not exactly experts in hitching up a trailer can now do the sometimes nerve-racking procedure on their own, without the need for an outside helper.
Ford’s new feature uses the rear camera and corner radars to align the hitch with the trailer coupler and automatically controls the pickup’s speed, steering, and braking to maneuver the vehicle and stop it in exactly the right place, leaving the driver just to get out of the truck and lower the trailer coupler onto the hitch ball.
Gallery: Ford Pro Trailer Hitch Assist
“Pro Trailer Hitch Assist is another smart solution to save time for our customers,” said John Emmert, Ford Truck general manager. “Instead of struggling to hitch a trailer alone or with a spotter, customers can now get hitched more confidently and on their way to the lake or a jobsite.”
Ford says its new feature can detect a trailer at distances of up to about 20 feet (6 meters) and that its ultrasonic reverse parking sensors alert the driver if there’s an obstacle detected during the maneuver.
Pro Trailer Hitch Assist is available now for the F-150, F-150 Lightning, and all-new F-Series Super Duty, with Ford saying that it collected a large volume of data to develop the system’s ability to detect a broad range of trailers on different terrain and in different weather conditions. Additionally, the American carmaker says that future trailer image data can be used to make the system better over time via software updates.
This all sounds pretty cool, but collecting imaging data from thousands of vehicles sounds like a less-than-ideal privacy scenario. And as we recently learned from Tesla’s case involving leaked customer recordings, it has the potential to blow up in a bad way.
As always, we’d like to know what your thoughts are on this, so head over to the comments section below and write away.