Design Engineering

Automotive parts supplier set to turn your trailer invisible at CES

Devin Jones   

General Automotive

Valeo's XtraVue touts the ability to mask the trailer hitched to your vehicle using various cameras and a telematics module.

XtraVue will mask a trailer hitched to the back of your vehicle using cameras and a telematics module

A demonstration of the XtraVue in action.

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month, autonomous car part supplier, Valeo, promised to make the trailer hitched to your vehicle, well, invisible.

The Paris-based company debuted XtraVue at last year’s CES but it was inconvenient at best. Originally, XtraVue allowed drivers to see through cars ahead of them for any potential dangers. It was an interesting idea with the downside being other cars had to have cameras installed and a LTE mobile network for it to work.

This year, Valeo reintroduced XtraVue,using the same technology but making it a little more convenient. Utilizing onboard cameras, the technology works with a telematics antenna and laser scanner to mask the trailer you’re carrying. According to the company, “cameras fitted at the rear of a vehicle and the rear of a trailer or caravan” ultimately “feeding into a single homogeneous image.” A small display allows drivers to see what’s happening behind them. This theoretically makes that stupidly wide camper easier to “change lanes, reverse and park, all with full control over their environment,” the company said.


Valeo’s telematics module.

Think of Valeo’s telematics module as a wifi hub on wheels, popular in the car insurance industry. Because of its data collection capabilities—measuring everything from acceleration, speed and braking to the time you’re behind the wheel—telematics rightly stirs up the age-old privacy debate; the trade-off being theoretically cheaper insurance premiums. Valeo is billing their telematics module in the vein of a smart device that makes users’ lives easier: Allowing users to access a full suite of multimedia services through 4g connection (emails, web browsing etc) while also automatically sending emergency signals to a help center in case of an accident or medical emergency.  


Also at CES, the company is unveiling their first autonomous vehicle dubbed the Valeo Drive4U. Regarding safety, the company is “setting the target of less than one major incident for every billion kilometres driven, which would represent a higher level of safety than in the aeronautics industry,” as stated in a press release.

To achieve this, the company is rolling out two forms of software, the Valeo Drive4U Remote, which allows vehicles to be operated remotely when assistance is needed, and the Valeo Voyage XR, which is able to simulate the virtual presence of a person—based in a fixed location—on board the autonomous vehicle during the journey. More specifically, interactions between you and the passenger take place in real-time and the avatar of a co-passenger appears in the rearview mirror, “while the ‘stationary’ virtual passenger enjoys an immersive experience using a virtual reality headset and controls from a fixed location.”

It all sounds very interesting, if not prone to some comic mishaps. 


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