SEOUL -- South Korea's Hyundai auto group announced the development of a shift system that improves fuel efficiency and performance by enabling vehicles to automatically shift to the optimal gear after identifying road and traffic conditions ahead. It can be used for future vehicles and autonomous driving.
The information and communication technology (ICT) connected shift system is the world's first to automatically shift the gear according to road and traffic conditions, the auto group said in a statement on Thursday.
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 as well as cameras and radar for smart cruise control. Radar detects the speed and distance between the vehicle and others, and a forward-looking camera provides lane information.
The TCU predicts the optimal shift scenario for real-time driving situations through an artificial intelligence algorithm and shifts the gears accordingly, Hyundai said, adding that when a relatively long slow down is expected and radar detects no speed irregularities ahead, the transmission clutch temporarily switches to neutral mode.
When tested on a heavily curved road, the frequency of shifts in cornering was reduced by about 43 percent and the system reduced the frequency of brake operation by about 11 percent to minimize driving fatigue and brake wear, the auto group said.
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. The changes in distance from the front car were detected by the front radar to adjust appropriate transmission gear automatically.
"Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions," said Jeon Byeong-wook, head of the auto group's intelligent drivetrain control research lab. Hyundai said it would develop the system into an even more intelligent transmission technology that can communicate with traffic signals.
To create an autonomous and connected vehicle ecosystem, the auto group has forged partnerships with various tech companies.
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