Hyundai and Kia have co-developed a new automatic transmission for combustion vehicles that can choose a suitable ratio by using map data, and by scanning the road ahead with radars and cameras.
The claimed world-first is called the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connected Shift System, and uses 40 major patents. Both companies plan to use the system in road cars.
A working version of this system should yield greater engine fuel efficiency and improve comfort, however neither company has provided specific claims nor costs.
The transmission control unit (TCU) collects and interprets input from the car’s 3D navigation that pre-empts turns, elevation and gradient changes, road works, and traffic conditions.
The radars detects the speed and distance between the vehicle and others, and a forward camera provides lane data.
An artificial intelligence algorithm then predicts the “optimal shift scenario for real-time driving situations” and changes gears accordingly.
Hyundai and Kia say when they tested a vehicle with an ICT Connected Shift System on a heavily curved road, the frequency of shifts in cornering was reduced by approximately 43 per cent compared to vehicles without the system.
It also reduced the frequency of brake operation by approximately 11 per cent, thereby minimising driving fatigue and brake wear.
When rapid acceleration was required to enter a highway, the companies say, the car’s driving mode automatically switched to Sport at the merge, before returning to its original driving mode.
In addition, the engine brakes were automatically applied upon release of the accelerator pedal by determining speed bumps, downhill slopes and location of the speed limit change on the road.
If a relatively long slow down is expected and the radar detects no speed irregularities with the car ahead, the transmission’s clutch also switches to neutral to improve fuel efficiency.
Beyond this, Hyundai and Kia claim to be developing an ICT Connected Shift System that can communicate with traffic signals based on LTE or 5G communication and identify drivers’ tendencies, “resulting in further refinement of gear-shift control”.