As times change, so do the transmission automotive technologies.
We look at the past, present, and future of the transmission to reflect on the changes.
4 Types of Transmissions Available Today
To start, it helps to understand what four types of transmissions you can purchase today. Each of these has its own set of benefits and disadvantages, but transmission automotive technologies continue to change them all.
The manual or standard transmission leverages a variable gear ratio to balance speed, torque, and power to match the driving condition. Only 13% of new cars are offered with a manual transmission these days, so it’s no longer a popular option.
Automakers don’t complain about the shift. With fewer options, the companies increase their bottom line. However, the production costs for manual transmissions are much lower than the advanced automatic systems.
Hydraulic Planetary Automatic Transmission
The most popular automatic transmission design has been the hydraulic planetary design. It uses locking and unlocking planetary gears to shift, combined with a hydraulic coupling that transmits the rotational power, instead of a manual clutch.
These transmissions have a defined amount of gear ratios, so passengers still feel the shifting effect. As cars move to electric, the need for multiple ratios decreases. One example is the new Taycan, which only comes with a two-speed automatic transmission that offers plenty of performance.
Dual-clutch (DCT) Automatic
The DCT comes from Germany. This design is made from two independent gear sets with clutch circuits. As the speeds alternate between the rods, the even-numbered gears work on one and the odds on the other.
With this type of transmission, controls preset the upcoming gear while operating in the current one. Then, when it’s time to shift, the computer simply releases the current-speed and engages the next.
Continuously Variable (CVT)
The CVT features a single speed that transitions the vehicle through a continuous set of gear ratios. The benefit to this system is the smooth transition, without the harsh shifting feeling. With a CVT, owners also experience more efficiency.
However, many consumers miss the shifting feeling, especially when driving a sportier car. This equipment can also be loud during acceleration.
Innovations in Transmission Automotive Technologies
Now that you have an understanding of the latest transmissions offered, it’s time to look at the latest technology. Here are just a few of the recent changes.
- Spiral bevel gears: With the helical teeth, vibration and noise are reduced. This design also improves durability while reducing the production cost.
- Additive manufacturing: Automakers are using lighter weight materials to improve performance. BMW and Ford both work with 3D printing manufacturers to offer more to consumers.
- Improved automation: Production facilities now implement smart technology and assembly robots to optimize manufacturing. With the help of AI, automakers can analyze large chunks of data faster and streamline the process. These systems allow engineers to focus on real-time improvements that only perfect the process.
Future Transmission Automotive Technologies
As we look to the future of auto production, we see that the transmissions we use today will continue to evolve and change. As electric vehicles continue to be the focus, the industry must change and adapt. Going into the future, we expect to see more product development of transmission components that offer a better experience. These new models will also address durability concerns and provide more efficiency.
It’s true that the manual transmission might one day be obsolete, but it doesn’t seem that most people care. On the flip side, it’s not expected that the automatic transmission is going anywhere. However, we will see some innovative transmission automotive technologies that shift the way we see these systems.
What are your thoughts on where the transmission is heading? We would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment telling us what transmission you prefer and what you hope to see in the future. Then, share this article with your family and friends by clicking your favorite social media platform to the right on desktop or down below on mobile…and let us know what you think in the comments section. Thanks for reading!