DETROIT Yazaki North America, Inc. is hoping automakers will hitch up its system that gives drivers who tow trailers real-time onboard diagnostics.
The supplier is calling the technology IntelliTow. It is an electronic module that monitors the electrical connections between the vehicle and the trailer and alerts the driver to circuit failures that cause the lights or turn signals on a trailer to stop working. This can be a problem if the flexible wiring harness that connects the vehicle to the trailer comes loose or if the contacts inside become corroded.
Yazaki said it developed the system without a contract from an automaker. It is expecting to start getting requests for quotes from automakers starting next quarter.
The system uses a single module that can connect to either a 4-pin or 7-pin wiring harness. The system automatically senses when the trailer is present. Features include a boat launch mode that, among other things, disables the lights when a boat is being backed into the water.
Senior Manager Douglas A. Burcicki said Yazaki could have the system production ready in time for the 2010 or 2011 model years.
He said research has shown that consumers would pay $90 to $95 for an onboard trailer diagnostic system. That would be on top of the $400 to $600 automakers typically charge for towing packages.
Automakers have zeroed in on truck buyers who tow trailers by rolling out safety packages that can reduce swaying and improve braking.