Hyundai and Kia recently announced the development of a transmission that can predictively shift into the appropriate gear based on a scan of the upcoming road.
The system uses cameras and radar to observe the road and traffic ahead. The data is analyzed to map elevation, curves, gradient, and traffic conditions, and then shoved into an “artificial intelligent algorithm” which will help the transmission choose the appropriate gear before it is needed.
For example, if there is a long slow down, the car will switch into neutral to improve fuel efficiency. On a curved road, the system will reduce the frequency of shifts “by approximately 43 percent.” Downshifts also reduce brake pedal use.
The companies refer to the system as the Information and Communication Technology Connected Shift transmission. IaCTCSt? An acronym that can only be pronounced by holding back a sneeze. In the future, the system is planned to communicate with traffic signals by vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, and also learn the driver’s habits.
This is a further polishing of the turd that is the internal combustion powertrain, fractionally mitigating the inherent flaws in the system. If the transmission could really see into the future, it might not see itself in many passenger vehicles. It’s also pretty neat, and if we’re going to crawl our way to an electric future at a snail’s pace, some progress on the dinosaur-powered cars is useful.