Tips, Tricks & Trends

How Do “See-Through” Trailer Cameras Work?

Modern cars now have more safety functions than in previous years. Rearview cameras for blind spots, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, and certain other driver’s assistance tools often appear in the model’s standard features list. Even more add-ons are available in pricier trims.

Safety features are important for all cars, but especially for trucks. While trucks can withstand more damage in a collision thanks to the larger mass, the high driving placement is somewhat of a safety hazard. In addition, many trucks are towing large loads that could become unhitched or hit something that the driver didn’t notice.

Because of this, many trucks now have safety features specifically designed for trailers. One of the newest innovations in trailer safety is the “see-through” trailer camera.

How does the camera work?

The see-through camera is included in the ProGrade Trailering Camera System offered by certain trucks. This multi-camera system has 15 different camera angles which improves the driver’s visibility much more than the standard blind-spot camera.

These angles switch manually when the system detects a potential obstacle on the road, but drivers can also switch the cameras manually. For the truck itself, there are three front camera angles and four rear camera angles. 

There are also camera angles for the hitch and bed so you can keep an eye on things in the cargo box. There’s a wide-angle rear surround angle and a bowl angle, which shows how the truck looks from a few feet in front of the car. Finally, there’s a view for inside the trailer and a transparent see-through camera.

This transparent camera view works by lining up the images from the camera attached to the back of the trailer and the camera on the back of the truck. It then detects the edges of the trailer box and outlines it. When you pull up the see-through camera view on your center touchscreen, it will present a completely transparent image of the trailer, allowing you to see any vehicles that are directly behind it.

What trucks have this feature?

You can get the ProGrade system on the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 2020 Silverado 2500 HD, 2019 GMC Sierra 1500, 2020 Sierra 2500, and 2020 Sierra 3500. 

The new 2020 Ram has some of the camera angles included in the package, but not a see-through trailer view. Currently, the system works with trailers up to 32 feet long.

Is this camera system worth it?

Most of the trucks that offer this camera system can tow a lot of weight. It can be hard to get a full view of a wide trailer from just a camera situated on the back of the truck. Additionally, you can’t really see cars behind you, which may make things potentially hazardous if a reckless driver flies up behind your trailer undetected.

The see-through camera angle is a cool feature to see in action, but you also get the added benefits from all the other camera angles in the package. If you decide to get the ProGrade system, you may want to upgrade to the largest touchscreen available so you get the most out of the camera views.

Other trailer safety features

Ford trucks also have a backup camera option for trailers, but this camera doesn’t have as many angles as the ProGrade. Some trucks also have trailer backup sensors, which outline the back edges of a trailer from data in the backup camera.

Some trucks also come with internal sensors for trailer wheels so that drivers can keep an eye on the trailer’s tire pressure. Trailer sway control and traction control is also available to keep the trailer steady while driving.