Nrma Robotic Trailer Inspired By “transformers” Cuts Wait Times For Motorists With Conked Out Cars Technology News
Conked out cars can now be towed away faster — allowing traffic to return to normal sooner — thanks to an ingenious collapsible robotic trailer being rolled out by the NRMA.
The “Transformer” style trailer stowed in the back of a van can be deployed in minutes at the press of a button and is strong enough to tow most cars.
The road service provider says the new devices cut tow away times by almost one hour.
Rather than waiting for a tow truck, the NRMA van can tow the car on the spot — if the technician can’t get the stranded vehicle fixed on the roadside.
Kosta Karavanas, who has been an NRMA road service technician for 24 years, says the mobile towing unit is one of the best solutions he’s seen.
“My son calls it the Transformer because it unfolds like a robot,” says Mr Karavanas. “When you’re doing a recovery, people just stop and watch, they’re fascinated by it”.
Mr Karavanas says the tow unit also helps clear any traffic caused by the breakdown.
“We can help clear traffic by getting the stranded car out of the way faster,” he said. “Then we usually drive the owner home or to work and take their car to a workshop.”
So far there are two dozen “mobile recovery units” on NSW roads, with a further 100 due by the end of the year, representing almost one-third of the NRMA’s metropolitan fleet.
Road service providers in other states, such as the RACQ, RACV, RACT, RAA and RAC, are also considering deploying the “Transformer” trailers in their states.
The trailer — which is made in the UK but installed locally — can tow vehicles weighing up to 1.8 tonnes, including most cars and small SUVs.
If the stranded cars can’t be budged, an electric winch pulls them onto the rig.
Vehicles heavier than 1.8 tonnes still require a tow truck to be called out, but the NRMA estimates the robotic trailers can rescue 80 per cent of vehicles on the road.
The most popular calls for help were for flat batteries, followed by flat tyres and key lock outs.
Most cars requiring help — 25 per cent of all call outs — were 11 years or older, while 20 per cent of stranded vehicles were 10 years or younger.
The average age of all cars on Australian roads is just under 10 years, according to the latest Census data.