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Old 12-03-2019, 03:31 AM   #1
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Aftermarket trailer backup assist

Hey all, new user here.. Most summers, me and my family are traveling around Sweden in an old travel trailer, and I've been reading recently about the "Trailer Assist" functionality of Ford, Wolksvagen and other brands. These being very expensive systems (not to mention only available from the factory when buying a new car!), and being a software developer by day, I have started to build an aftermarket solution that I can run using my main phone (in the car) and by fixing a spare (a couple of years older) phone at the back of the trailer. With these two devices I get a video feed when backing up, as well as very accurate estimation and visualization of the hitch angle (thanks to the gyrometers in the phones). (Im also thinking of adding the possibility to input a "desired angle" and get steering wheel recommendations based on that (good for the wife))..

Is this all just a crazy idea (I have like 90% of it working already), cause I haven't seen anyone else doing this?
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:37 AM   #2
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Crazy or not I'm sure you will continue working on it.
Thats what software development is all about.

So the factory assist works by the backup camera looking down on a checkerboard sticker that you put on the trailer tongue.

And amazon sells wifi backup cameras for cheap. Less then what an old phone might be.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:46 PM   #3
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That's probably true (that I'll continue working on it, it's too much fun). And if you don't already have spare device lying around (very many do), a WiFi cam might be cheaper. But another big plus with the solution I'm working on is that not only do you get the hitch angle visual, you also get a video feed from behind the trailer.

(Also, not that using gyroscope sensor data is straightforward, but I would have absolutely no idea where to start processing realtime video like the big guys do)
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:40 PM   #4
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We should all have a project that keeps us off the streets and out of the beer halls.

I’ve had my share over the years.

Sure beats hanging out on the Internet all day.

Enjoy.

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Old 12-03-2019, 05:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJaff View Post
Im also thinking of adding the possibility to input a "desired angle" and get steering wheel recommendations based on that...
I think for the steering recommendation to be useful, the application would need to know the current steering angle so it could instruct whether to turn further right or left. Just saying "front wheel angle should be 4 degrees right", for instance, would not be very helpful.

Good luck with the project.
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Old 12-09-2019, 03:13 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I think for the steering recommendation to be useful, the application would need to know the current steering angle so it could instruct whether to turn further right or left. Just saying "front wheel angle should be 4 degrees right", for instance, would not be very helpful.

Good luck with the project.
Good point with the steering angle. But I want to make this as accessible as possible, by having to invest very little in physical gadgets. Also, when the vehicle is in motion (no matter by how little), it would be possible to instruct the driver to turn the steering wheel "more to the left" (for example) depending on the angle rate of change.

What you describe, with steering wheel and hitch sensor is actually on the market already, for the cost of $329 (without backup camera).. google TowGo.

Here is a more recent screenshot/mockup of HitchAngle:
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Old 12-21-2019, 01:30 PM   #7
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New design/interface that is HUD-based, what do you think? Visit the website for more info: https://hitchangle.com/

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Old 12-21-2019, 02:43 PM   #8
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I really don't see the benefit of this but as long as it works for you go for it.
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