Hyundai Develops Tech to Shift Gears Based on What’s Ahead
ICT Connected Shift System uses software in the Transmission Control Unit to collect and interpret real-time input from underlying technologies
Ever wish for the superpower to know what’s around the next corner? With what the company is calling the world’s first predictive Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connected Shift System, future Hyundai and Kia vehicles might be able to do just that.
Essentially, the car uses a myriad of tools already at its disposal to estimate what’s happening on the road ahead and prepare or adjust transmission behaviour to suit the conditions. In short, the ICT Connected Shift System uses software in the Transmission Control Unit to collect and interpret real-time input from underlying technologies, including 3D navigation equipped with a precise map of the road, plus cameras and the radar for smart cruise control.
The three dimensional aspect to the navigation input is essential, providing data for elevation, gradient, and road curvature. It’ll also be able to estimate a variety of road events such as upcoming construction zones plus the current traffic conditions. Radar detects details like speed and distance while the forward-looking camera provides lane information.
“Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions,” said Byeong Wook Jeon, Head of Intelligent Drivetrain Control Research Lab. “Even a traditional area of the automobile, such as the powertrain, is becoming high-tech, optimized for smart mobility through efforts.”
It’s an intriguing use of kit that’s already included on most high zoot rides from Hyundai and Kia. Using these inputs, the gearbox predicts an optimal scenario for real-time driving situations and shifts the gears accordingly. For example, when a relatively long slowdown is expected and the radar detects no speed irregularities with the car ahead, the transmission clutch can temporarily switch to neutral mode to improve fuel efficiency.
In testing, this setup proved useful on a heavily curved road where the frequency of shifts was reduced by approximately 43 percent compared to vehicles without the gee-whiz system. When a highway merge is anticipated, the system could automatically engage a Sport mode for more vigorous acceleration. The opposite could happen for speed bumps in a residential area, for example, or when a red light is detected up ahead.
No timeline was given for the rollout of this technology but knowing the industrious and competitive Korean companies, it could be a lot sooner rather than later. A picture of the midsize Sonata sedan accompanied today’s technical details but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be installed on a larger (and more popular) SUV like the dandy new Palisade.