Land Rover is currently developing a see-through trailer that it hopes would remove entirely the blind spot that is created when a caravan or trailer is towed. This new concept hopes to give the driver a transparent view and improved visibility in order to see the cars coming up behind. The “Transparent Trailer” system is still in the prototype face that combines the video feed from the current surround camera system and a digital wireless camera that is positioned at either the back of the trailer or the caravan.
The current surround camera system already has a reversing camera as well as one camera on the wing mirrors. What the system does is to combine the different feeds and then create live video images making it appear as if the trailer behind it is see-through. When the trailer is paired with the towing car, the system automatically makes the live video feed appear on the rear view mirror of the vehicle.
When the driver goes into reverse, the driver can view the video feed through an infotainment screen that has calibrated guidance lines to help with the task further. Another concept that the Land Rover is developing is the Cargo Sense system. This is a monitoring system that is designed for an in-car trailer in order to optimize cargo loading to have safe towing. The system combines a mat of pressure sensors located on the floor and a remote video camera in the trailer that are wirelessly linked to the towing vehicle.
In addition to helping load the cargo in a uniform and even manner, the pressure sensors can detect if the load, whether those are boxes, a classic car, antique furniture, or even a prized horse, is currently moving inside the trailer in an abnormal manner while on the road. Before the issue becomes serious, the system alerts the driver by sending to the dashboard a “Check Cargo” warning.
The driver can also see live video feed from inside the trailer through an infotainment screen that is inside the vehicle. This also allows a passenger to see the footage even while the vehicle is currently in motion.
Clearly, the driver can also see the video while being stationary in order to make a better assessment of the situation from the driver’s seat. According to Land Rover, the research was due to the fact that many customers tow valuable items whether for business or pleasure and the system enhances the experience of towing since it makes it safer for driver and cargo. While a permanent video feed on the dashboard is a good enough solution, the problem is that it has the tendency to distract the driver while being on the road.
The systems being developed only warn the driver when there is a problem in the trailer. Through the video, the driver can then decide whether to stop or not. Furthermore, the Cargo Sense system can be linked to its own smartphone app that enables the driver to determine the current status of the cargo and trailer even if the driver is away from the trailer.
An owner for example who has his horse being transported can receive alerts if the horse is distressed, if the trailer has been tampered, or if the temperature inside the trailer is beyond acceptable levels. The owner can do this even if he not with the driver. With a number of horses being transported on different equestrian events around the world every year, it becomes important to find safer and new ways to transport them while reducing the possibility of road accidents that can cause injuries on both the handler and horse.
Many accidents have been caused by a horse that fell inside the trailer, horses forcing themselves to go out of the trailer, or moving in a way that results in the trailer swaying excessively.
Animal physiologist Dr. Emma Punt is working with both the Royal Veterinary College and British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association to determine how the Cargo sense system can be utilized to determine the stress levels of the horse in transport. With the addition of different devices that can measure the physical well-being of the horse in the trailer, Dr. Punt will also look into how the pressure sensors can help improve safety further.