Small helpers with big effects – part 4

Small helpers with big effects – part 4

Trailer Assist, Volkswagen

Driving with a trailer is a special challenge. Even for experienced drivers. Above all, reversing manoeuvres can quickly become complicated and stressful. Volkswagen offers help in precisely these types of situations with Trailer Assist. The system simplifies the manoeuvring process considerably. It applies regardless of whether the task involves positioning a horse trailer in front of the right horse stall at an equestrian event or positioning a caravan at a campsite. The system handles the steering while the driver accelerates and brakes the car-trailer combination. The mirror adjustment joystick adjusts the driving direction which is easy, quick and safe.

The innovative, optionally available Trailer Assist activates at the push of a button. It enables even inexperienced trailer drivers to reverse a trailer quickly and safely. The mirror adjustment switch is then used as a joystick. It lets the driver variably set the desired driving direction and can be modified it at any time. The actual driving angle and the angle set by the driver are visualised in the instrument cluster. The system automatically controls the electromechanical power steering. All the driver needs to do is accelerate and brake.

When the trailer is pointing in the correct direction, the driver simply presses the mirror adjustment switch towards the rear. And the trailer then appears to effortlessly pull the vehicle behind it along a straight line. This relieves all of the anxiety of straight-line reversing with a trailer while maintaining a safe and nice trip.

Playing a crucial role in the manoeuvring process is the camera technology. It enables Trailer Assist to perform automatic lateral guidance of the car-trailer using a. The process is based on image processing algorithms. They use data from the rear-view camera system, which monitors and analyses the articulation angle between the car and the trailer. The system uses an optical measurement of the articulation angle to compute the required steering angle. That is regardless of the type of trailer model or drawbar used.

The system is another piece of pioneering work by the technical developers at Volkswagen. Their goal was to make complicated parking and manoeuvring actions easier and safer. Anyone who tows a trailer will appreciate this help very quickly if they need to make precise movements while manoeuvring trailers in a tight space.

At a glance – the development of assistance systems for parking

1997 – First park distance control system with four ultrasonic sensors

2005 – Park distance control, front and rear

2006 – World’s first parking assistant (Park Assist)

2008 – First use of Rear View

2010 – First use of ‘Area View’ area monitoring system; Optical Parking System (OPS); Park Assist 2.0

2012 – 360-degree OPS

2012 – Park Assist 2.0 with perpendicular parking

2014 – Rear Traffic Alert; Blind Spot Monitor; Area View, 2nd generation; Introduction of Trailer Assist

2015 – Park Assist 3.0