The car is one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind. Having revolutionized the way humans travel, commute the car can be credited to changing mass transportation as we know it! With the advent of cutting-edge technology and the means to make it more accessible, affordable to all consumers globally car manufacturers have been very successful in making the car an integral part of our day to day lives. While driving a car is an easy, fun task for a lot of people…a common frustration about driving a car is the daily grind of driving amongst bumper to bumper traffic! Thankfully the automatic gear transmission comes to our rescue. The automatic transmission is a very crucial advantage car drivers have over gruelling traffic conditions. Korean car giants Hyundai, Kia have jointly developed the ICT Connected Shift System, which could potentially be a game changer not only in automatic transmissions, but also the future of transmission technology. You might be thinking…well that’s amazing, but how does this new tech work? Don’t worry, we have you covered! We are going to tell you all about it…read on to find out more!
In an automatic transmission gearbox, the gear shifts are controlled by the transmission control unit (TCU). Basis the speed of the car, data provided by the engine control unit and a whole host of sensors the TCU decides when to shift into optimal gear in order to maintain performance and efficiency. American car giant General Motors can be credited to introducing the first auto gearbox – Hydramatic which made its debut in 1939 in Oldsmobile and Cadillac models. Since its application in cars the auto gearbox has become very popular with car drivers the world over. The auto gearbox brings with it much needed convenience of not using the manual clutch, this aids the driver and shields him from feeling tired, frustrated during stop-go traffic conditions we are accustomed to these days. The CVT, DCT, Torque Converter, DSG etc. gearboxes are amongst the most popular ones used across most of the cars globally. All these gearboxes use information such as speed of the car, engine data, sensors to shift gears automatically. The idea behind Kia, Hyundai’s new ICT gear technology is to predict gearshifts optimally while evaluating and taking into consideration the realistic driving conditions. The new transmission is a completely different take on the conventional ones we are accustomed to. The ICT technology assess the situations, road conditions ahead, predicts the next best shift for optimal performance. While developing the new ICT tech Hyundai and Kia have filed for 40 major patents both in South Korea and globally. ICT uses intelligent software in the TCU that collects and interprets real time input from technologies such as 3D navigation equipped with an exact map of the road, multiple cameras and radars for cruise control. Evaluating and taking into consideration various input elements such as elevation, slope/incline, curvature, various road events and current traffic conditions 3D navigation works alongside the radar which detects speed and distance between cars, lane information is provided by a forward-looking camera. While conducting tests of the ICT system a 43% reduction in the frequency of shifts while cornering was observed. While cornering 11% of braking frequency was reduced – thereby reducing brake wear and driver fatigue. As part of the testing process, ICT was used on the highway as well. On highway runs it was observed that the ICT system adapted to the requirements of joining the highway by putting the car into sport mode, this led to an increase in speed, power to make it easier for the driver to merge on the highway. Once the car had reached an optimal highway speed the ICT system slotted the car back into an efficient gear while maintaining the speed.
The ICT is still a work in progress and certainly one for the future. Technology like ICT is constantly worked on and improved daily to help make it optimal, practical and safe for usage in the real world. ICT should see application in autonomous driving as well and will look disrupt the automatic gearbox as we know it. Future tech such as ICT will be shaping the global car industry in the coming years, it will be interesting to see what the competitors of Hyundai & Kia have in store for the industry, customers!