Trailering

GM shortens trailer stopping time with new, innovative eBoost technology

A new technology developed by General Motors may change the trailering experience as we know it, making it safer for everyone involved.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

For some folks, towing a trailer is second nature. It's like riding a bicycle or going for a swim. But for a vast majority of others, towing can be intimidating, scary and even downright dangerous. No matter what category you fall into, truck makers have been working feverishly to come up with new and exciting technologies to make towing easier and safer for you.

One of the biggest challenges of towing, at least at speed, is the abrupt need to come to a stop. Whether it be someone pull out in front of you or the traffic light turned red sooner than you'd expect. Towing down a grade in high winds can create even more issues.

eBoost braking assist trailer This diagram shows the impact of the new eBoost technology.Photo courtesy of General Motors

To help with towing and stopping, electronic trailer brake controllers are common on rigs that tow. They help control the trailer by apply the brakes in the trailer. Setting up a trailer brake control is often described as an art, not a science.

That's where new General Motors tech comes in. Using their electronic brake system from their heavy-duty pickup, the company has fitted it to a trailer for the purpose of improving braking. Their goal was to equip a trailer with the company's eBoost braking system and see how well they could stop with it.

Their goal was to take a 2020 Silverado HD without a trailer and see how far it took to stop. Then they attached a trailer with 9,000 pounds and set a target of stopping in the same distance. They were within three feet.

That means in a full-on, emergency stop scenario a truck towing a 9,000-pound trailer can stop as short as a truck without a trailer. Not to overwhelm you with hyperbole, but that is a game changer.

Why? There's no complicated setup of the trailer brake controller. The equipment already exists, and GM managed to do it with around $1,000 worth of hardware that's already available. It would require a trailer manufacturer to integrate it with their trailers, but the safety benefits are huge.

Unlike some aftermarket anti-lock braking systems, primarily from Bosch, this system communicates with the truck, and can even use electronic stability control to reduce trailer sway.

It's a prototype at this point. GM is hoping to find a trailer maker to help develop the technology. The marketing department is still figuring out all of the details, but in addition to offering it on a brand-new trailer, it might even be possible for certain dealerships or installers to add it to existing trailers after the fact.

While there is a truck war going on with how can tow and haul the most, the efforts that GM is making right now for improving towing safety, such as their invisible trailering system and this prototype trailer brake system, makes the roads safer for everyone – even if they don't drive a GM.

The new LogR smartphone app replaces the need for a track data recorder to be built into the car.

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Civic Type R was designed to be track-ready and while it mechanically does what it needs to, technologically, it's lacking one key thing - a track data recorder. Enter the LogR smartphone app.

The 2020 Honda Civic Type R adds the app to the car's Display Audio screen. It has three types of functionality: A Performance Monitor provides vehicle information to the driver on the Display Audio screen, while Log Mode records lap times on the track. The Auto Score function encourages smooth driving by monitoring braking, acceleration and steering, and generating a "driving smoothness" score. To come up with a score, the app uses proprietary algorithms developed by Honda with the help of professional Honda drivers.

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Log Mode and Auto Score offer in-depth driving analysis when a phone is plugged into the vehicle including previous drives, performance traces and replays using GPS mapping and detailed vehicle information.

Honda sais that, "Unlike third-party datalogging apps, LogR features exclusive access to the Type R's onboard computer, delivering more in-depth detail on the vehicle's performance than aftermarket systems that's only available through the vehicle's factory onboard computer."

The LogR app is designed to work with the 2020 Type R, for both iPhone and Android users. It will able to be downloaded this spring.

General Motors has announced an all-electric future for its Detroit-Hamtramck plant.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Earlier this month, speculation began mounting that General Motors is reviving the Hummer brand. Reports indicate that basketball superstar LeBron James will star in a new advertisement for GMC during the Super Bowl which will feature a new electric GMC pickup that bears the Hummer name.

Whatever it's called, the new GM electric pickup will begin to be produced at the company's Detroit-Hamtramck plant, along with the Cruise Origin. GM is pouring $2.2 billion into the facility to ready it for the production. The plant's paint and body shops, and general assembly area will receive comprehensive upgrades, including new machines, conveyors, controls and tooling.

General Motors Electric Truck teaer plant 2021 With its promotional image for the announcement regarding the new plant, GM is showing off a shiloutette of the new pickup, giving credence to statements by those who said that it wouldn't stray too far from the Silverado and Sierra mold despite possibly having the Hummer name.Photo courtesy of General Motors

"Through this investment, GM is taking a big step forward in making our vision of an all-electric future a reality," said Mark Reuss, GM president, during a press event at the plant with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other local and state officials. "Our electric pickup will be the first of multiple electric truck variants we will build at Detroit-Hamtramck over the next few years."

GM will also invest an additional $800 million in supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of the new electric trucks.

In addition to the investment in dollars, the company will be investing in new workforce personnel, creating more than 2,200 jobs at the plant.

According to a release, Detroit-Hamtramck currently operates on one shift of production and builds the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevrolet Impala. Approximately 900 people are employed at the plant. As previously confirmed, the plant will be idled for several months beginning at the end of February as the renovations begin.