Ford files patent for remote-control trailer backup app

If you’ve ever had to back up a trailer, you know it’s not the most intuitive activity in the world. Getting the wheel directions and steering just right is almost an art form that some have mastered, but that causes significant stress for many. This is especially true for new drivers, so to help, Ford may be planning a remote control function that allows owners to back up their truck and trailer using a smartphone app.

Motor 1 found a patent filing that dates to mid-July 2022. Through a series of diagrams and notes, Ford essentially lays out a plan to use a smartphone as a remote control. The app would display detailed camera angles and guidance on steering inputs. Ford says the driver controls the steering angle by tilting the device. The whole thing looks mighty complicated on paper, but the remote-control operation of a truck and trailer will likely be more intuitive for many people than trying to do everything from the driver’s seat.

If the remote trailering app makes it to market, it will be Ford's second significant towing assist function. The automaker already offers a Pro Trailer Backup Assist system in F-Series trucks that enables control of truck and trailer via a rotary dial in the dash. The driver turns the dial in the direction they want the trailer to go, and the truck handles the rest.

People with more experience towing sometimes like to poke fun when others have trouble backing up a trailer. Still, these kinds of assistance systems can provide tangible benefits to people with mobility and other issues. Turning to back up a trailer is not possible for everyone, so a remote-control option might enable towing for more people. Plus, it looks fun, so it might win over the naysayers.


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