Ford introduced a new artificial intelligence-based technology called Ford Pro Trailer Hitch Assist that can automatically back up and align the F-150 Lightning pickup’s hitch ball to a trailer with the push of a button.
With over 100 years of experience in making trucks, Ford knows a thing or two about what owners are looking to get out of it.
Using the expertise it has built over the years, the American automaker introduced its first fully electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning, in 2021, or what Ford calls “the smartest, most innovative F-150 yet.”
With impressive power and features, the Lightning EV pickup has quickly become a favorite among buyers and automotive journalists alike.
Since the first Lightning customers received their trucks last May, we have learned a lot about what it can do as owners have used it to provide mobile power after several hurricanes and floods last year.
In fact, according to recently gathered consumer data (anonymous to ensure confidentiality), Lightning owners use the bed of their pickup more often for activities like camping, hauling, and home projects.
Ford released a new tool this week to make towing with the Lightning a breeze with new AI-based technology.
Ford releases new Trailer Hitch Assist for the Lightning
We’ve all been there, backing up and lining up to hitch a trailer is no walk in the park, especially with bigger trailers or campers.
To allow Lightning owners to get the most out of their trucks, the new Trailer Hitch Assist from Ford Pro uses machine learning and computer vision to automate the process of backing up to a trailer.
Ford’s new system works by using the rear camera and corner radars to align the truck’s hitch to the trailer while also controlling the truck’s speed, steering, and braking at the same time to stop at the perfect position for up to 20 feet.
The system’s ultrasonic reverse parking aid will alert the driver if an obstacle gets in the way. Drivers can view the progress on the truck’s display screen as it backs up.
John Emmert, Ford Truck general manager, explained how it can make life easier for work or for play with less time spent trying to maneuver the truck into position, saying:
Pro Trailer Hitch Assist is another smart solution to save time for our customers. Instead of struggling to hitch a trailer alone or with a spotter, customers can now get hitched more confidently and on their way to the lake or a jobsite.
Ford says the Pro-Trailer Hitch Assist system was developed in-house with over 60 patents and will get better over time with Ford Power-Up software updates.
With the help of AI, Ford is automating one of the most time-consuming and aggravating aspects (for most) of owning a truck.
The move shows Ford knows its audience and what they want to get from their trucks. The Lightning continues to improve and attract new buyers, now Ford just needs to make more of them.