GM has filed a patent for a system that will wirelessly connect a trailer to a tow vehicle, circumventing the need for a wired connection to transmit signals and information between the two.
The new General Motors patent application has been assigned patent number US 2023/0328490 A1 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and was published on October 12th, 2023. The patent was originally filed on April 12th, 2022, and lists several Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including Todd J. Brinkman, Curtis L. Hay, and Priya B. Abraham, as well as Canada-based engineer Ralph David Schlottke.
As the patent points out, data transmission and communication between a towing vehicle and a trailer typically requires some sort of physical connection through electronic wires. These wires provide a number of different functions to the trailer, including supplying electrical power, as well as coupling electronic signals for things like the application of the brakes and activation of the trailer lights (brake lights, turn signals, reversing lights, and the like).
These systems can be compromised if the operator fails to make the physical connection, or if the connection itself is broken or damaged. As such, a wireless, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) solution could provide one solution with regard to transmitting information and digital signals.
As the automotive industry moves increasingly towards digital systems, electric vehicles, and automation, the inclusion of a wireless V2V connection between a tow vehicle and a trailer makes quite a lot of sense. General Motors has already filed to patent other systems that advance the typical outdoor activities enjoyed by modern enthusiasts to future-leaning vehicles, such as a system capable of estimating the energy consumption of an electric vehicle used for off-roading. GM has also patented a tow assist system that could enable vehicles to enjoy larger towing capacities. Combined with modern EV tech, all of these systems could make for an interesting weekend adventure setup.