Now, Ford says it’s made the process as easy as turning a knob. The 2016 F-150, which will go on sale late this year and can tow up to 12,000 pounds, is the first pickup with what’s called (in true Detroit marketing fashion) Pro Trailer Backup Assist. We call it the n00b knob.
The system, which has been in development for five years, works by tapping into the truck’s electric power steering (which the F-150 got in 2011). You just have to teach the truck’s computer to work with any trailer you hook up, a 10-minute process. Take a few measurements, add a black and white sticker to the hitch so the rear camera-based system can keep track of what the trailer is doing, and you’re good to go. The system can store info for as many as 10 trailers, each as long as 33 feet from the hitch point to the center of the axles.
The driver turns a knob on the dash, and the truck does the rest, steering and controlling the vehicle speed with the gas and brake pedals. The rear camera gives the computer a reference angle using the black-and-white sticker for reference, limiting the truck’s rearward speed as the angle of the trailer increases. [via Wired]