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For some sportsmen, facing off against a Cape buffalo at 50 yards is the ultimate white-knuckle moment. But for those who tow trailers, it just could be backing down a ramp or executing a Y-turn in a crowded staging area. Although these are really simple maneuvers, each is supremely unforgiving of input errors on the part of the driver. The biggest single issue seems to be mastering the idea that if you want the trailer to go to the right while backing down the ramp, you need to turn the front wheels to the left.

Ford believes it has a better idea, which is why it will be offering what it calls Pro Trailer Backup Assist in the 2016 F-150 pickup. Essentially, it’s a sophisticated guidance system that, in conjunction with a rear-mounted camera, takes control of the truck’s steering wheel and moves the front wheels for you. All you do is turn a knob located on the instrument panel (left to move the trailer to the left; right to move it to the right). You guide the trailer by looking at the instrument panel camera monitor and the side mirrors and adjusting the knob as needed to maintain the line you want. The system determines vehicle speed (obviously very low) and steering input for you; you still retain full control of the brakes.

I tried out the system last week at a Ford press demonstration. Participants included experienced towers as well as complete novices. Those with trailering experience instantly saw the value of this feature and were able to back up and turn the trailers with ease. The novices, as expected, were a little hesitant at first, but quickly grasped the basic concept. It didn’t take them long to look likes pros.

“In all, there’s about eight modules that come together to make the system work, including power train, brakes, steering, and a sophisticated camera system,” says Brad Hochrein, a chassis control supervisor. Also at work are some proprietary algorithms that let the various technologies work together.

Hochrein also says that the manufacturer spent a lot of time figuring out the proper placement of the camera. It needed to be tucked safely out of harm’s way, but it also needed to be located so it could deliver the required performance with a wide variety of trailer types.

In a way, Pro Trailer Backup Assist is a natural extension of Ford’s dynamic hitch assist, which debuted on 2015 models. Here, a rearview camera monitor displays what Ford calls “a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle” to help drivers line up the truck and trailer without having to use a spotter or get out of the truck.

Long-time towers may scoff at Pro Trailer Backup Assist, in the same manner that hunters who learned how to navigate with topo maps and compasses dismissed GPS units when they initially hit the market. Turns out GPS was no gimmick; neither is this system. Anyone who has endured a long wait at a boat ramp, watching trailers snake crookedly down to the water, will appreciate a system that lets anyone launch a boat quickly and easily. And this technology should also help anyone who tows an ATV trailer negotiate tight offroad trails.

Pro Trailer Backup Assist is part of a long-range program of technological upgrades that Ford has planned for its entire line over the next few years. Ready for the future? It’s ready for you.