General Motors is developing a trailer braking concept to reduce stopping distance.
The concept is based on the automaker's eBoost brakes used in the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and Silverado vehicles.
GM said in a press release that the system — equipped on both the truck and trailer with upgraded brake rotors, calipers and tires — improved the 60 mph to zero stopping distance of the truck and trailer combined by 20 percent when compared with an identical truck and trailer with traditional electric trailer brakes.
The concept uses a seven-pin trailer wire connector "without the need to for any extra connections," the release said, and helps reduce trailer sway through stability control.
"We took the design parameters that we would use for designing a vehicle: determining how much brake force we would need to achieve the stopping distance and what components would be required to deliver those goals," Todd Brinkman, systems engineer for trailering at GM told Automotive News. "We applied those same constraints to a trailer to prove that we could stop the two together as fast as a truck alone."
GM tested the concept with a 9,000 lb. trailer, Michael Strickhouser, vehicle performance engineering manager for fullsize trucks, said at the GMC Yukon reveal in Vail, Colo., last week.
He said the braking concept is the first step to what could be an independent system from the truck, and GM hopes to partner with trailer companies to take the technology to market. Ideally, consumers would purchase the tech from a GM dealer.
“Moving forward we’d like to work with a partner to put this into production,” Brinkman said. “We would maybe license the technology as a way to recoup some of our development costs.”
The concept is being designed to work with any tow vehicle, he said, and wouldn’t be an aftermarket part for existing trailers.
“It wouldn’t require a truck from GM or even a new truck. It would work with the trucks that are already out there,” Brinkman said. “It would have to go through a trailer manufacturer where all parts are designed to make sure it could handle these higher loads from the brakes.”
GM currently partners with organizations such as North America Trailer Manufacturers and Recreational Vehicle Industry Association on trailering safety, the release said.
“The average brakes, there’s a lot of different components that could all get consolidated into one package,” Brinkman said. “Traditional brakes couldn’t be computer controlled. With the new system, there’s a lot more you can do as far as performance … You can have different characteristics based on what the driver wants.”
Hannah Lutz contributed to this report.