With the help of a trailer towed to the rear, the trailer assistance system allows the driver to park or reverse the vehicle. The system helps save time while reversing the car, reduces the risk of crashes, and offers the driver comfort and safety. It consists of a sensor, an intelligent rear camera module, and a smartphone or tablet application. With the help of the trailer assistance scheme, when reversing the trailer, drivers do not need to rethink the conditions. The trailer assistance system does not require moving the trailer to the right and the steering wheel to the left. The reverse gear has to be selected by the driver to reverse using the trailer assist system and the button has to be pressed to activate the system. The steering angle can be seen on the instrument cluster.
The intended direction can be set using a mirror adjustment switch that works like a joystick and allows the driver to operate only with the brakes and accelerator, as the vehicle provided by the trailer assistance system receives a steering control. The trailer system is capable of controlling the vehicle with the help of a smart wireless device that can be used to remotely perform the reverse and parking operation from outside the vehicle. This helps you move the trailer in the required direction automatically.
The market for the trailer assistance system is driven by the demand for autonomous vehicles with safety and comfort solutions incorporated into the vehicle. The growth of the market is also driven by an increase in the use of towing vehicles. Due to increased demand, these features are also being implemented by manufacturers in passenger cars and commercial vehicles, which are also one of the factors driving the growth of this market.
The cost of using this trailer assistance system is very high during integration and installation, which restricts the market growth. Moreover, the lack of adequate infrastructure in developing countries is likely to reduce market growth over the forecast period. The limited use of towing trailers in emerging economies is a major challenge for the growth market. Increasing developments in semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles allow the market to grow.
Lack of consumer awareness, particularly in developing and underdeveloped regions globally, is one of the most important factors hindering the growth of truck-trailer systems. In countries such as India, China, and the Middle East, the rate of adoption of this technology is significantly low. The market penetration of trailer assist systems in other countries is limited because many automotive OEMs and trailer assist system providers come from developed regions such as Europe and North America. Besides, towing trailers in these countries have low penetration, resulting in less adoption of trailer assistance systems.
According to Jato Dynamics, global sales of cars and light commercial vehicles in 2018 amounted to 86 million in the top 54 world markets; SUVs remained popular in the same year, while sales of electric cars increased by 75%.
In 2018, Toyota, the Volkswagen Group, and Renault-Nissan were the largest car manufacturers and manufacturing companies globally. With 30 million units sold in 2018, SUVs contributed 36% to the world's new car market. Consequently, given the high penetration of the market for trailer assistance between passenger vehicles, the increasing sales of these vehicles will provide a significant market opportunity.
One of the most hazardous truck and car operating procedures that can cause accidents is the reversal of a trailer.Trailer reversing accounted for up to 35% of incidents involving trailer damage and up to 40% of fatal accidents, according to WABCO. According to the National Safety Council, 25% of car accidents occur while the vehicle operates in reverse, with an estimated 500 fatalities and 15.000 injuries each year.
Parking and reversing account for nearly 1 in 10 serious van accidents and downtime costs fleets an average of USD 601 per day per van, according to the Volkswagen survey, compared to the average U.K. Car repair bills are USD 1,836. Besides, while reversing or parking trailers, millions of campers and fishermen had major and minor accidents.
The driver must carefully evaluate the environment and be able to avoid hitting the car; by detecting objects in the blind spot behind the trailer, the trailer assistance system reduces the risk. The trailer assistance system helps to stop the trailer at a safe distance and ensures driver safety while reversing and helps prevent collisions with docking stations, gates, trees, pedestrians, pallets, cars, or any other object behind the trailer.
Based on type, the market is segmented into semi-autonomous and autonomous. Over the forecast period, the semi-autonomous segment is projected to hold major market shares and is anticipated to grow at a higher CAGR of 12.2%. Semi-autonomous technology allows the driver to concentrate on steering the trailer while allowing the car to move in a direction it determines is necessary. It allows the vehicle to park semi-autonomously using the rear backup camera, where the driver designates which way the trailer should go using the side view mirror.
Companies such as Continental AG and Volkswagen AG are offering semi-autonomous trailer assist systems for their vehicles. Land Rover’s Discovery has embraced the Advanced Tow Assist system integrating semi-autonomous technology. With the bolstering demand and awareness of electric vehicle and AI concepts, the autonomous segment is forecasted to grow at a significant CAGR. Autonomous technology provides commands to an electronic steering controller. In an autonomous trailer assist system, the driver turns a knob on the dashboard, and the truck does the rest; steering and controlling the vehicle speed.
The rear camera gives the computer a reference angle, limiting the truck's rearward speed as the angle of the trailer increases. The following vendors are offering autonomous technology for trailer assist systems: WABCO – offers an autonomous trailer assist system called “TailGUARD” and FORD – offers an autonomous trailer assist system for its F-150 model.
Based on the application, the commercial vehicle segment held the leading share of the global trailer assistance system in 2019. This segment is projected to grow throughout the forecast period with a significant CAGR. Very few OEMs offer trailer assist systems for LCVs, some of these include Ford in the U.S. and Volkswagen in Europe. The system assesses truck movement during reversing operations as it detects moving objects in blind spots and automatically brakes.
Volkswagen offers a trailer assist system as an optional package for Touran and Crafter vans in the European region, except for few countries. Ford provides a trailer assist system for its LCV F-series in North America, including the U.S. and Canada. A truck-trailer combination is a rewarding option for the transport and logistics sector as it increases the freight per journey, adjacently reducing the cost and pollution, ultimately boosting the trailer assist system market.
By sales channel, OEMs are anticipated to remain the most dominant segment over the forecast period. Trailer assist systems are currently limited to the OEM market only, being a relatively new technology provided by a few players. As an optional package in their vehicles, OEMs such as Ford, Volkswagen, Audi, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz, and Skoda offer trailer assistance systems.
Several OEMs are paying attention to technological innovations in trailer systems to improve safety and automation. The technology for trailer angle detection was jointly developed by Ford and Magna International, i.e., Reverse Guidance and Pro-Trailer Backup Assist systems for trailers.
The technique was first installed in the Ford Super Duty pickup in 2017. Many OEMs already provide a few products to deal with the problem of accidents and reverse trailer parking; however, these products have not been able to solve the problem impeccably. The demand for the trailer assist system is, therefore, expected to double, given the need for vehicle safety.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted various industry verticals for the entire first half of 2020 and is continuing to have its impact on the rest of the year as well. The industries have been shut down and workers sent home, resulting in halted production almost for the entire year. However, the recent growth in the automotive industry worldwide and recently adopted responsiveness towards electric vehicles is considered to be one of the significant factors for the growth of the trailer assistance system market globally.
The rising demand for an assistance mechanism explicitly used for driver assistance, rising cases of accidents while reversing the vehicles, and increasing awareness of the population in regards to automatic AI driving of automobiles is anticipated to create lucrative opportunities for the global trailer assistance system market in the post-COVID-19 era.
A remarkable increase in the trailer assistance system is estimated to be seen globally during the forecast period due to an increase in vehicle sales. The region of Europe and North America with high potential expenditure on inventive growth for vehicle customization is projected to grow as the fastest-growing region in the next few years, taking into account the mature economy and the appearance of major manufacturers.
One of the main factors driving demand for more automobiles is the increase in disposable income and the changing demographics in the region, which will lead to demand for the trailer assistance system.
Canada and Germany will play an important role in the expansion of the trailer support system market. Growing economies such as India and China, where vehicle sales and efficiency are increasing, will play a vital role in driving the trailer support system market in the near future.
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In Dec 2020, Ford tested its newly build F-150. It is a self-driving enabled vehicle with advanced sensors and the capability of a trailer assist system, and many more.