Land Rover researchers are developing a camera system that makes a trailer or caravan appear see-through to the driver by removing the blindspot created when they are being towed.
The U.K. automaker says the system will allow the driver to clearly see vehicles coming up behind and improve visibility while maneuvering.
The prototype 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 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 automatically appears in the rearview mirror inside the vehicle.
Wolfgang Epple, research and technology director-Jaguar Land Rover, says overtaking drivers instinctively check their mirrors, but if they are towing their vision is restricted by large blindspots.
“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,” Epple says in a statement.
“Our prototype system offers a very high-quality video image, with no distortion, of other cars or obstructions. This means the driver will have exactly the right information to make safe and effective decisions when driving or maneuvering, making towing safer and less stressful.”
When reversing, the driver can 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.
JLR also is developing a system to monitor the load in the trailer using a remote video camera inside the trailer and a mat of pressure sensors on the floor. Both link wirelessly to the towing vehicle.
Besides helping customers load cargo evenly and uniformly, the pressure-sensitive mat could detect if the load of cargo, including horses and other livestock, is moving around the trailer in an unexpected or abnormal way.
The system would send a “check cargo” warning to the dashboard to alert the driver to an issue with the cargo, or livestock, before it becomes serious. Live video footage from the camera inside the trailer could be viewed through the infotainment screen in the vehicle.