The 2020 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups come with a new optional trailer camera that is unlike one that has ever been on the market. It offers many different views of the trailer and can offer a much-needed view for someone who is constantly towing with their truck
How Does the Silverado’s Invisible Trailer Camera Work? It uses 2 cameras to view both the front and rear of the trailer to create and process the images making the trailer invisible.
Keep Reading to learn more about the new Invisible Trailer Camera and how much it costs.
Who Makes the Invisible Trailer Cam
The camera itself is actually not manufactured by General Motors, but in fact made Valeo XtraVue a company you have probably never heard of.
Originating from France, they are not a new company and they re-branded in 1980, when they moved to the United States and began making heating systems.
Today they are known as a tech company and most of their resources have gone into Research and Development of autonomous systems for automobiles.
In 2019 they won an R&D award for high definition LED smart lighting for vehicles, it improved headlight visibility offering more light in the surrounding areas of pedestrians and doesn’t blind them. It is scheduled to hit the market in 2022.
I believe that the Invisible trailer system on the Silverado and Sierra is a well-built system and we will discuss it’s functions and see if it has any real-world value for owners.
How the Invisible Trailer Works
The system as of now comes as an option for the Heavy Duty versions of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra in 2020 and very recently hit the dealership. Some owners who bought a new 2020 truck in late fall did not have the option available at the time when General Motors began advertising it.
This upset a lot of owners as the system seems to have been advertised much earlier than the release and installation of the system.
Let’s discuss how it works to its entirety and see if it is a worthy pick up for your truck.
This is a dual-camera system, with one being placed on the rear of the trailer and the other being the factory tailgate camera. The secondary can be mounted inside the trailer if you want it to be, but most will simply mount it in the rear.
A trailer no longer than 32 feet could be used with the system and requires the technology package at minimum for the system to operate. As of now the Transparent Trailer camera can be purchased on the aftermarket with a price of $356. This will require that the truck have the tailgate camera and technology package of course.
It is pretty easy to install yourself with a 59 ft wiring harness and it simply plugs in right above the hitch. It requires the Two Trailer View Camera Receptacle as shown in this picture.
You can pick this up at GM Parts Store online and is the same unit you would get at the dealer, I don’t know what a dealer would charge for the option if you wanted it.
If you plan on towing a 5th wheel with your truck, which a lot of HD owners do. You will be unable to use the Invisible Trailer camera and will not get a good view as most all 5th wheels exceed the 32 ft max length from the hitch ball to the end of the trailer.
The Invisible Trailer camera does not do everything you would like it too. A great option would to show height data for the trailer on the head unit when towing a big trailer one is always concerned about bridge clearance. This seems like a reasonable option to add to the invisible trailer unit in order to make it more functional.
The unit has four available hitch views, from the tailgate the rear top-down view and surrounding view which is the Arial shot of the truck. The Five available parking views are nice and maybe a little excessive as they don’t seem to offer much data when the images are on the screen. The main view that most will prefer is the Transparent Trailer which gives you the best view of vehicles behind the trailer.
A lot of new owners of the 2020 trucks do not find the system display to be effective and leave you feeling underwhelmed. This seems like something General Motors could have stepped upon and offered a better GPS system that is more comprehensive.
Is the invisible trailer a gimmick? I don’t think so, the company who designs it seems quite solid, but it seems to lack a lot of functionality for so much hype around it. I could definitely see myself using the main transparent view if pulling a trailer that was blocking my view, but it seems this would only come in handy if you’re towing a taller trailer often.
I can see it only improving safety as it helps with blind spots hauling a trailer, it could take some getting used to. Overall it seems to be a good aid for a driver who is hauling a large trailer.
Can the invisible trailer unit be retrofitted on a previous model Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra? No, the camera unit itself was only designed to work with the 2020 head unit in the truck and the tailgate camera that already comes on the 2020 Heavy Duty pickups.
Will this Invisible trailer unit improve or come standard on the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra in the future? As of now, it looks like the Invisible Trailer Camera will only be an option on the Heavy Duty trucks made by GM, I fully expect the company Valeo to improve upon this design and add more features to the unit.
Where the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra really lack is their head unit functionality, for what you pay it should really offer more data to the driver when they are towing a large trailer like trailer height and trailer tire pressure.
Can the Invisible Trailer aftermarket kit fit on the smaller 1500 Sierra and Silverado? Yes, the kit is able to be installed on the lighter duty trucks as long as the tailgate camera and are the 2020 models of the trucks, this should work no problem.
Will General Motors add the Virtual Trailer to some of its other vehicles like the Yukon or Tahoe? Right now it is still unsure if they plan on adding this feature to their SUVs. I would expect to see them add the option to their SUV’s as long as they have a towing package, however, the engineers will have to add the same camera as the one the Silverado and Sierra’s tailgate.