Hyundai and Kia announce they have developed predictive transmission technology that enables the vehicle to automatically shift to the optimal gear after identifying road and traffic conditions ahead.
The automakers say in a news release they plan to apply the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connected Shift System on future vehicles.
The system uses intelligent software in the transmission control unit (TCU) that collects and interprets real-time input from underlying technologies, including 3D navigation equipped with a precise map of the road as well as cameras and radar for smart cruise control, Hyundai and Kia say.
The 3D navigation input includes elevation, gradient, curvature and a variety of road events as well as current traffic conditions. Radar detects the speed and distance between the vehicle and others, and a forward-looking camera provides lane information.
The TCU uses these inputs to predict the optimal shift scenario for real-time driving situations through an artificial-intelligence algorithm and shifts the gears accordingly. For example, when a relatively long slowdown is expected and radar detects no speed irregularities with the car ahead, the transmission clutch temporarily switches to neutral to improve fuel efficiency.
When Hyundai and Kia tested a vehicle with an ICT Connected Shift System on a heavily curved road, the frequency of shifts in cornering was reduced about 43% compared to vehicles without the system. The system also reduced the frequency of brake operation about 11%, minimizing driving fatigue and brake wear.
When rapid acceleration was required to enter a highway, the driving mode automatically switched to Sport Mode, making it easier to merge into traffic. Afterward, the vehicle automatically returned 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 speed-limit changes on the road. The front radar detected changes in distance from the front car to automatically shift to the appropriate gear, improving driving quality.
Hyundai and Kia say they plan to further develop the ICT Connected Shift System into an even more intelligent transmission technology that can communicate with traffic signals based on LTE or 5G communication and identify drivers’ tendencies, resulting in further refinement of gearshift control.
“Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions,” says 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.”