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Ford's Trail Control: More than just cruise for off-roading

Ford is showcasing one of the upgrade features announced for the high-performance F-150 Raptor designed to make navigating off-road terrain easier. Dubbed Trail Control, the automaker released some footage of it in use—and it seems the technology has a few extra tricks up its sleeve.

Trail Control can be set from 1-20 mph and manages the throttle and brakes, allowing the driver to just focus on steering. This is a "smart" system that adds a higher level of automation and can detect, for instance, when the truck is scaling something like large rocks; it can ginger the Raptor's tires up and onto a rock and brake to keep control as they roll down.

Notably, though, Trail Control can also be used to free the truck if it gets stuck in deep sand or snow— "because no one likes to dig," Ford notes. Set the dial to 1 mph in those situations, and Trail Control will selectively nudge the four wheels as necessary to get out of the jam.

The system can be used in all 4x4 modes, which Ford claims as an exclusive for pickup trucks. But that might not be for long: the 2019 Ranger midsize pickup set to arrive early next year also will get Trail Control as an option, perhaps similarly in a high-performance variant.

Ford says the upgraded F-150 Raptors will be available late this year.


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