That’s the premise Australian technology startup OzXCorp is working on in the development of a new, smart and electrified trailer that will basically turn the very concept of towing on its head. That sounds like a very difficult goal to strive to achieve, but it’s possible through patented hybrid drive technology and the patented IoT-based holistic integrated platform.
The off-road wonder was announced in the spring of 2019, with plans for it to go into production sometime this year and become commercially available afterward. If the name OzXCorp rings a bell, it’s because tech from the company has already been used in the upcoming ERV from Retreat Caravan.
This new, smart and electrified trailer that is yet to get an official name is a different one – one that will reduce the towing weight, be able to park itself and crawl up treacherous hills, and even push the towing vehicle. It will also be controllable through one single interface (screen), which will reduce maintenance costs and times, and be able to charge the onboard battery through regenerative braking and solar panels, for long periods of off-grid traveling.
If all this isn’t enough to get your attention, the new OzXCorp will also be rugged and probably make no compromise on basic comforts. As OzXCorp Co-Founder Andrew Huett explains in the video available at the bottom of the page, keeping the price within reasonable limits is also among the company chief’s concerns in developing it. How’s that for a complete package deal?
Starting from the idea that many car owners opt for personal vehicles with more power, bigger engine capacity and higher consumption to make up for the overall burden of towing, OzXCorp has developed a trailer that is half-electrified. The patented DriveX technology reduces fuel consumption and costs, improves travel times by reducing towed weight, and helps the owner recoup some costs by charging the onboard battery while in motion.
The trailer comes with a 14.3-kWh battery pack that offers enough power for assistance of the parent vehicle in towing, parking and climbing. There’s an 11 HP (expandable to 22 HP for short intervals) power output, which makes the trailer a suitable choice even for smaller, less powerful vehicles.
The trailer has bespoke modes like Sand and Mud Assist, real-time stability control, ABS and brake-bending, and torque vectoring. The goal is for future development to make the trailer with Level 3 / 4 autonomy and be able to recognize and handle a breakaway situation. In such a case, it would self-drive at high speed, apply braking when needed, and decide on its own to exit the highway and park safely.
In the current phase of development, it’s able to carry a large chunk of the towed weight, crawl up the hill or in a tight parking spot on its own (whilst controlled remotely) and even support the parent vehicle by pushing it up an incline.
Using IoT, OzXCorp has been able to go full-digital on this trailer. ConnX is the platform that connects all onboard systems through a single digital cable. This means that the owner can control and oversee every aspect of the trailer on one single screen, but it also offers OzXCorp the possibility to perform system diagnostics and maintenance remotely.
ConnX “improve[s] issue traceability, provides predictive analytics, and enhances warranty management,” the company says. When paired with torque control, ConnX puts you in direct and remote control of your trailer from your smartphone, which allows you to get it moving at speeds of maximum 2 kph (1.24 mph) and park it safely in a tight spot you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, at the wheel of the car.
As noted above, one major goal with this smart trailer is making it as eco-friendly as possible. That’s done partly by reducing fuel consumption (and ultimately, pollution) and partly by making it off-grid-capable.
The trailer uses a combination of regenerative braking and solar power (through roof-mounted solar panels) to power up the battery. These and the Centralized Energy Management System (CEMS) will allow you to live off the grid for some time, while using all appliances on board.
“Running your air conditioner, cooking on an induction cooktop, and even make use of the power to run a mobile coffee business, is all now possible on this gasless hybrid drive platform,” Huett says.