The Hyundai Group is working on developing the next evolution of the transmission — a predictive shifting system, which automatically chooses the optimal gear based on road and traffic conditions.
The system uses information and communication technology (ICT), working in combination with Smart Drive Mode, the driver-selectable driving-dynamics system already available on most current models. Hyundai and Kia have reportedly filed over 40 patents related to the system.
“Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions,” said Byeong Wook Jeon, Head of Intelligent Drivetrain Control Research Lab. “Even a traditional area of the automobile, such as the powertrain, is becoming a high-tech technology optimized for smart mobility through efforts to integrate ICT and artificial intelligence technologies.”
The ICT Connected Shift System uses software in the Transmission Control Unit (TCU) to collect and analyze real-time data from other technologies, such as 3D navigation (including elevation, gradient, curvature, and road traffic) and the cameras and radar used by the adaptive cruise control.
Among the benefits exhibited by the system during everyday testing, shifts on a winding road were reduced by 43% compared to conventional shifting vehicles, and braking frequency was reduced by 11%, translating directly in reduced brake wear, and also reducing driver fatigue.
Another benefit was realized during highway merging, when the system automatically engaged Sport mode for rapid acceleration, then returned to normal once the merging manoeuvre was completed, or at highway speeds once the car settled into the stream of traffic with the cruise control on. Also, the system automatically applies brakes upon lifting off the accelerator, such as while negotiating speed bumps, on downhills or during speed limit changes read by the sign-recognition system.
The next step is to further develop the system to communicate with road infrastructure over LTE and 5G, personalize it to learn from driver tendencies and ultimately fully integrate it into fully-autonomous systems, helping to improve fuel efficiency and more comfortable driving experience.