Machine Design

New tranny is a fuel miser

Researchers at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), together with an Asian automaker, have developed an automated manual transmission that merges the convenience of an automatic with the fuel and weight savings of a manual.

 

SwRI researchers developed software that controls a variety of powertrains, including electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic systems. Special software monitors the engine and road conditions, determining when and into which gear to shift.

The new transmission eliminates the torque converter, transmission fluid pump, and multiple clutches required by an automatic. The resulting configuration is said to reduce weight by approximately one-third. "The automated manual transmission is less expensive to build and offers several advantages over the automatic transmission that dominates the American market," says Michael Kluger, SwRI assistant director of Vehicle Research.

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