TowGo - Tell Your Trailer Where to Go!
TowGo - Tell Your Trailer Where to Go!
Two sensors and a smartphone app are all you need to be backing up with your trailer like a pro. Never jackknife again!
Two sensors and a smartphone app are all you need to be backing up with your trailer like a pro. Never jackknife again! Read more
About this project
TowGo™ enables you to back up your trailer easily and precisely without all the guess work of which way and how much to turn the steering wheel. If you just want to get where you're going, but you're going to be towing a trailer, you can relax about the backing up part. Never again will you have to endure the frustration or embarrassment of trying to backup your trailer over and over again to get your trailer in the right spot. Furthermore, TowGo is discreet so no one has to know you're using it.
Are you one of those who thinks you should be able to backup a trailer without assistance? Balderdash! My great-grandfather used to tell me that if you didn't know how to adjust the choke on your car on a cold morning, you shouldn't be driving. Today, automotive technology has pushed that choke thing so far into the past that many people have never even heard of it (sorry, gramps). Towing, and in particular backing up with your trailer, is no different. We are Briks Group, LLC and our goal is to make backing up with a trailer easy for everybody. Please join us on this adventure!
Tell me about this TowGo thing
Picture this: sitting at a boat launch watching the boats come in and out of the water. Several drivers manage to get stuck on the boat launch either by jackknifing their trailers or by being too close to the edge. Along comes one driver who backs down the ramp around the stuck drivers as if it were a slalom ski course. This is what we witnessed to come up with this idea. Now, you too can be a pro at backing with your trailer.
We realized that if one driver could master this problem that there had to be a mathematical solution. Once we solved it, we knew this was a product that had to come to market. We got a patent and started a company, brought together a team, had more patent applications filed, ergonomically tested with 3-D printed parts (thank you, Kickstarter!), got the marketing and our web site going and worked to get the prototypes operating successfully. That brings TowGo to present day. Now we want to bring TowGo to you.
TowGo™ works by continuously measuring the hitch angle of your trailer and the steering of your vehicle. With these two key pieces of information (and a little bit of info about your vehicle and trailer such as the wheel base and trailer length), TowGo calculates where your vehicle and trailer will become lined up. The display shows you where the trailer is and, for any position of the steering wheel, where it will end up. It also keeps you from jackknifing by warning you in advance of doing so. You just have to move the steering wheel to keep the "where it will end up" where you want it. It's that simple.
What do you get?
TowGo™ consists of three components - a sensor that you place on your hitch, another that goes on your steering wheel, and an App for your smartphone or tablet.
Your hitch sensor will be custom machined and have a stainless steel core for strength. This core will be selectable for a 3/4", 1" or 1 1/4" hitch ball shank. It will have a black ceramic finish. The electronics are sealed inside the surrounding plate so you should have no problems if you want to expertly back your boat trailer even into salt water.
Your steering sensor is full of microscopic gyroscopes and gravity sensors and is custom molded and hinged to enable it to fit just about any sized steering wheel (pretty cool, huh?). Yours will be black to keep it discreet. This sensor monitors the turning of the steering wheel and translates this into the turning radius of the vehicle. It communicates with the rest of the system wirelessly and runs on one AAA battery. The button is so you can power up the sensor and calibrate the system (after you drive a short distance forward to put your vehicle and trailer in a straight line). A strap holds the sensor firmly in place.
These two sensors are easy to install yourself. How easy, you might ask? Here's a look:
Our prototype's display may be of moderate resolution, but it does the trick. Your display will be much prettier running on the higher resolution screens of an iPhone*, an iPad* or an Android* device. It will communicate with the other parts of the system using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. Here is what yours will look like:
The image represents the area behind your vehicle (see the little hitch ball?) with a gray line marking the center (for straight back). The outline of the trailer shows you where your trailer is now. We'll give you a few different trailer outlines from which to select your favorite. The white line shows you where the trailer will be when your vehicle and trailer become aligned, given the current position of your steering wheel. To reposition the white line, just turn your steering wheel. To back up with your trailer, turn your steering wheel such that the white line is going where you want your trailer to go.
Let's take it for a spin
This system is the long needed fix to the frustrations of backing up trailers. With TowGo, anyone can now back up a trailer. Now, you can Tell Your Trailer Where To Go!™
Many people are familiar with how difficult it is to back up with a trailer. Many of them know that the shorter the trailer, the harder it is to back up. TowGo works with the shortest of trailers. Here is a demonstration of TowGo backing up with a less than 6 foot long log-splitter:
How the pledge money will be spent:
Technology is not cheap, and we want to deliver a high quality product.
Here is how the money will be spent:
This breakdown excludes shipping, fees for payment processing (Kickstarter, Stripe, etc.) and any taxes, VAT or duty fees (if you live outside of the U.S.A.).
Let's do this together!
Won't you join us on this adventure? Choose one of the Rewards and make a pledge today. Another way to help is to please tell people you know who do trailering about our campaign and encourage them to join in the adventure as well. Let's move TowGo forward together, so everyone can back up with their trailer!
Briks Group, LLC.
Risks and challenges
We already have the working TowGo prototype. We have lined up highly capable partners to get the design ready for manufacturing and then build the rewards; we are confident that we can build and ship a very high quality product. However...
In the course of getting ready to launch this campaign over the last several months, we came to the realization that the best way to provide a display of where your trailer is going to go is to build an app that runs on your smart phone or tablet (both Android* and Apple's iOS* devices will be supported). Our prototype uses its own Bluetooth* capable display, but to productize this would require us to produce a plastic molded case that, along with the LCD and graphics capable processor, would make this component quite costly. On the other hand, Android tablets are manufactured in such large quantities that they can be obtained for under $40 (or, you may already have a smart phone or tablet and not want another one). To do this, we will be bringing on skilled software engineers to transfer our prototype display software into Android and iOS devices and to get our product up and running in an app.
FCC and EU Certifications
We will have TowGo™ tested for RF emissions suitable for both North America and Europe. The radio components in our sensors are compliant modules that are already tested and approved for these regions; in fact, they are the result of another Kickstarter campaign which we backed. But, while we do not anticipate a problem, there is always a risk we will have to make a modification somewhere that could cause a delay.
While our manufacturing partner has a very capable parts acquisition team, there is always the chance a part will become back-ordered. Also, a number of components such as the metal hitch sensor case and the plastic steering sensor case are custom made and could become delayed. These are risks that every company faces.
While we cannot guarantee a magical solution if a problem should arise, we can guarantee to keep you informed and up to date. After all, we consider our backers to be a part of this team and on this journey together with us.
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