You'll soon be connecting your trailer from the comfort of your driver's seat.
With the giant strides taking place in just about every automotive field, the towbar has curiously been left out of the equation. It has remained basically the same since it was introduced in 1932 so technology company Semcon conducted a survey that showed 50 percent of people preferred not to tow a trailer at all because they weren't comfortable in hooking it up. Of these, 70 percent were women although we bet there were plenty of men who just acted like they knew what they were doing.
"It's easy to lose perspective – not least women's perspectives – when the majority of technical developers are men. Because if people don't see a product as problematic, there's not all that much chance of them changing it. For us at Semcon, understanding end-users of all kinds is crucial so that we can develop products that benefit people as much as possible," says Markus Granlund, CEO of Semcon.
To this end, Semcon used an all-female team of product developers to design a concept they call the Automatic Trailer Connection (ATC). As you can probably deduce from the name, this system allows you to connect your trailer to your vehicle while you remain inside.
"Given the vast amount of money that's been spent on product development in the automotive industry over the past 80 years, it's strange that nobody has done anything about towbars when so many people find it to be a complicated solution. New perspectives can sometimes be needed," says Sofie Askenbom, project manager for the Add Perspectives team.
Using existing technologies present in most modern cars the systems the ATC concept simplifies the trailer hitching process to the press of a button. All the driver has to do is park about six feet in front of the trailer where the vehicle will automatically reverse and position itself to hook up to the trailer's connector.
Both car and trailer communicate via a cloud-based app that allows them to connect correctly, there are no wires to fiddle with and a mechanical lock secures the trailer in place. The ATC concept was launched to highlight the fact that more women were needed in the tech industry and Sofie Askenbom hopes that both car and trailer manufacturers may be interested in adopting this tech into their products in the future.