General Motors engineers have been privately talking about a new age of truck and trailer connectivity for the last few years. A world where, instead of a trailer being a “dumb” object that is simply pulled from behind, the trailer is “connected” to the truck and communicates with it.
Today, General Motors is taking the first step towards this vision with the eBoost Trailer Brake Concept System.
A typical trailer brake controller takes a trucks brake signal and converts it into an “on/off” signal. A driver simply sets how much force, or “boost” works for their particular trailer and away they go. No matter how advanced and integrated the brakes on a truck’s four corners have become, the brakes on a trailer only know if they should be on or off.
Keeping with the idea that a trailer can and should be more integrated with a vehicle’s computer system for great performance and features, GM is introducing a concept that shows what can be done with only minor changes today.
“The industry tends to focus on the big towing claim, but the overall towing experience is just as important and every hill climb has a hill to descend on the other side,” said Tim Herrick, vice president of Global Product Programs. “GM revolutionized the towing space with our industry-exclusive technology available on our full-size pickups, and this advanced trailer braking technology is yet another example of GM’s leadership and a hint at what’s possible in the future.”
The eBoost system replaces the trailer’s typical brake system with a more advanced and computer controlled system. This integrated control talks to (in this case) a Silverado, which can control the trailer’s brake system as if it was its own.
Greater integration results in greater braking performance. GM claims an eBoost Trailer System can stop 40ft sooner than an identical system without eBoost from 80 mph. When life and death can be determined by a matter of inches in an emergency brake situation, 40-ft seems like a life and equipment saving cushion.
GM puts no date on when customers may expect to see an eBoost Trailer system in production, only stating:
While Chevrolet and GMC trucks on the road today potentially have the components necessary to make this concept a reality, no trailers exist with the same capability. Today’s preview of the concept is intended to inspire technology partners needed to make the benefits a reality for truck and trailer owners in the future.