By on December 27, 2007

shift.jpgIt’s been 20 years since automakers filed the first patents for adaptive automatic transmissions. These “intelligent” cog swappers promised all the bespoke speed and efficiency of an English butler. And yet, time and time again, I get into a new vehicle, put my foot down and find myself saying “You just can’t get good help anymore.” The Subaru Legacy, Mercedes C350, Honda Accord and Dodge Grand Caravan all came equipped with gearboxes displaying advanced signs of mechanical ADD. Are these devices slow learners or just too damn smart for your own good?

According to the playbook, an adaptive automatic transmission studies your driving behavior and then adjusts its workings to deliver “suitable” throttle response and “appropriate” shift points. To achieve this feat, there are as many modus operandi as there are manufacturers’ eagle-eyed patent departments. Needless to say, the modern adaptive gearbox relies entirely on sensors and computer controls. 

In Subaru’s case, a Transmission Control Module sits at the heart of their four speed adaptive autobox. Sensors tell the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) when the car’s going uphill, downhill or around a corner. The black box directs gear changes according to event-specific algorithms designed to make those experiences “better.” Selecting Sport mode calls-up a different internal 'map' or program which allows higher engine speeds during acceleration, and delivers more responsive downshifts when the guy in front of you doesn’t slide over to the right. 

On a recent test drive, the Subaru system performed like a minor league ball player. It wanted to do a good job; it just wasn’t ready. I asked Subaru how long it takes one of their intelligent transmissions to get smart. They told me the ECU learns constantly, adjusting continuously. In other words, the boffins couldn’t give me a deadline, in terms miles or time, when their ECU should be in sync with its master.  

Granted, that’s a tough question. If you scoot out onto the highway and drive 65mph for a day, how much data does the computer really have to get on with? The flip side is worse. A car sitting on the dealer’s lot gets driven in two-mile sprints at irregular intervals, with drivers as different as Lindseys Graham and Lohan. And then there’s the dreaded “Multiple Driver Syndrome” (MDS). That’s where vastly different driving styles scramble the car’s brain, creating a mean mean. 

Just how much difference all this fuzzy logic programming makes is, well, fuzzy. There’s only one way to get a proper fix on an adaptive transmission’s [theoretical] advantages: a computer-controlled rolling road test simulating various driving styles, with and without the algorithms. None of the manufacturers contacted for this article could provide any such test results, or any hard stats on the adaptive transmission's relative efficiency in general. Words like “better” and “improved” were as good as it got.

Truth be told, the adaptive transmission’s effect on driving dynamics may not be all that much of a blessing. On paper, the new Mercedes C-Class’ seven-speed cog swapper– a trickle down technology from the mighty S-Class– should be a wondrous thing to drive. With seven gear settings and the computer’s ability to skip a couple cogs going up or down, a C-Class pilot should be able to blaze out in glory and snuff some serious momentum without setting the car’s brakes afire. In the seat, the C-Class’ adaptive transmission is nowhere near as much fun as you thought it was going to be. 

That said, Mercedes asserts that their transmission’s control unit may take a couple thousand miles to “get used to” its driver’s throttle and brake inputs. If you share the car, it will average out the drivers’ approaches. If you don’t like the outcome, if the aforementioned MDS sets in, “Dave” will reset “HAL” at no charge (as Mercedes does for cars heading into the pre-loved lot).

Therein lies the conundrum of modern automatics. By definition, they’re not going to be as good on a test drive as they are over the long haul. In that sense, it’s easy to see why new car salesmen rarely make a big deal of adaptive transmissions; “Trust me sir, it gets better over time…”

Though a little explanation might go a long way. The general public is generally appreciative of genuine advancements in automotive technology, and people have been dealing with break-in periods since, oh, 1906. Mercedes claims their adaptive transmission increases drivetrain longevity and reliability. It’s not the sexiest of selling points, but it would make it a little easier to endure a few weeks of dim-witted gear changes.

Anyway, we’re stuck with these gizmos. “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change,” Charles Darwin wrote.  Frustrating though they are, adaptive transmissions will thrive and evolve– unless something better renders them obsolete. 

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47 Comments on “The Truth About Adaptive Transmissions...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    The engine ECU adapts as well to engine wear, tuning changes, gasoline, and a long list of parameters. If the ECU tuning is integrated with the transmission the results can be quite good. Too often the transmission is doing one thing while the ECU is concerned with another. Eventually owners may be able to tune their own cars with laptop computer hookups without going to a tuner shop.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Does anyone have a list of these cars with adaptive transmissions? Is this fairly standard nowadays?

    My most recent car with an auto (now given to the wife) is a 2000 plymouth neon, which, surprisingly is a fantastic, reliable beater. My wife actually asked me if she could get a “new” neon in a year or two when we pass 200k miles on it. Yep, it’s a 3-speed ancient monstrosity but is a 2000, so the first year of the neons without the known headgasket problems.

    I’d possibly be interested in an adaptive transmission in her next car if it

    1) works
    2) gives better mpg
    3) doesn’t have long term problems

    For me, I’d never buy anything except a manual.

  • avatar
    1981.911.SC

    I agree with Robstar. But, it is getting harder and harder to find manuals. Pretty soon we will only be able to get performance cars with manuals…OH WAIT…..that is a good thing, right?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Wrong. I shouldn’t have to pay $30K+ just so I can swap cogs myself.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    GS650G, amazingly, this is possible with some Honda K-series engines. The Hondata upgrade provides a USB interface to the ECU to change timings, fuel maps, and a whole ton of options. Unfortunately, Hondata doesn’t seem to have cracked Honda’s drive-by-wire system, so current models don’t have this upgrade option.

    Boggles the mind, really. I almost feel obligated to get it since I can.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Robstar,

    If your wife’s Neon has the 3 speed auto, then it’s the Torqueflite, one of the most reliable transmissions ever made. The Neon’s replacements, the Caliber, Compass, and Patriot use a CVT (continuously variable transmission), which I think they sourced from a company owned by Nissan. The CVT works by keeping the engine at a constant speed and changing the gear ratios to meet the car’s road speed. Most critics don’t like it.

  • avatar

    I’ve got two cars with excellent adaptive transmissions: S2000 and 335i; that they each have three pedals only makes the use of the transmission that much more “adaptive”!

  • avatar
    crackers

    How do adaptive transmissions adapt to my various moods while driving? For my morning commute, my mind is on the upcoming day (and not running into the person in front of me) and doesn’t really care what the transmission is doing. On the way home, I have frustrations to work out, so the car is driven much more aggressively. If the transmission won’t %@$% downshift NOW!, I get annoyed with it. I wonder if the algorithms are too simplistic – perhaps they need to take into consideration time-of-day, heart rate, stress levels, weather and a ton of other factors. Or perhaps the transmission should simply be controlled by the driver who is constantly monitoring all these factors in real time.

  • avatar
    carguy

    crackers – good point. That’s why so called adaptive transmissions are more of a marketing device than useful technology. I would be much happier to see manufacturers adopt a manual switch that allows for selection between aggressive shift points and conservative fuel-economy maximizing settings. Some manufacturers, such as BMW, already implement this but its high time it spread to other makes.

  • avatar
    NoneMoreBlack

    crackers: Hit the nail on the head. As Martineck points out, adaptive autos are a complete failure when it comes to having multiple drivers. So what if their only driver IS multiple drivers? When I’m heading for the hills, I certainly don’t want my transmission to just stick it in 4th and leave it like I do in bumper-bumper traffic.

  • avatar

    edgett’s got it

    this novel “three pedal layout” has made automatic transmissions obsolete from the day they were born, in my opinion.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Do any of these things work if the electronics fails? The top of my list for any electronics is that the car still works if the CPU/EPROM/whatever goes up in a puff of smoke. I know thats difficult to impossible for ECUs, but why should anything non-critical disable the car? I drive a last gen A6 and after reading the editorials here on automotive electronics, I’m reluctant to consider a newer one with the highly integrated electronics. I don’t want a cheap/unfun/unstylish/poor performing car, but I do want one thats simpler. For those of us who hang on to cars for along time, simplicity can be a virtue.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    The first thing I want about any new gadget in a car is how do I turn it off. If that is not possible, how do I reset it. If that is not possible, what f’n idiot did you let design the car?

    How many new gadgets have ever NOT gone through a period of people demanding a switch? There were the talking cars, airbags, stability control, iDrive, to name a few.

    All the engineering it takes to make these things work, you would think they would be smart enough to realize that what we really might want is a way to manage it ourselves, either by resetting it to factory, or choosing a setting, or whatever.

  • avatar

    simplicity comes in the form of three pedals.

    that said, if the electronics crap out, most modern cars, even those with the novel shift-for-yourself feature, are toast.

  • avatar
    Eric_Stepans

    Making an automatic transmission “adaptive” is like teaching a pig to sing. The results are not that good and it annoys the pig.

    There is already a much better, far more ‘adaptive’ technology to make a transmission do the driver’s wishes: the human brain.

    What automakers/transmission makers should focus on is making the interface between the driver’s brain and the transmission controls as intuitive and responsive as possible.

    Then the best self-organizing pattern-recognition device in the known Universe can be in charge of when and how gears are shifted.

  • avatar
    jsybert

    It is kind of interesting over the past few years with automatic transmissions vs manuals. Not too long ago if you wanted the best performance you needed to buy a manual, they took less horsepower to turn, less drag and better for gear selection. Now if you are only concerned about performance, because of advancements in programing, clutches and torque converters, the automatic is the way to go. They now take less power to operate than before, shift faster and always seem to be in the correct gear. I still think, for a street car, manuals are great, more control, better feel but mostly more fun. But I only drag race with a automatic for consistency and other tech reasons.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Hello!
    A couple of minor points here, if you will…
    As a dealer shop foreman/tech I deal with transmission issues every day. Here is what I see:
    A manual transmission problem, like grinding during shifting is, depending on the amount of damage, repairable in the field. Synchros, bearings, gaskets, forks, gears, snap rings, seals and gaskets are the usual replacement items. Many times it’s a clutch issue, linkage problem, etc. And many manual transmission problems do not take all that many parts or time to repair. During warranty with our manufacturer, if the repair costs exceed 80% of a new unit, the transmission gets replaced IF one is available.
    Today’s auto transmissions are a whole ‘nother matter. Our manufacturer DOES NOT want us inside them as they cannot be tested in the field, you cannot be assured of the latest and greatest parts updates, etc. The auto transmissions are now handled on an exchange basis.
    Go ahead and price these auto transmissions! $2500 for a Mazda, $4K+ for a Subaru.
    As for the adaptive part…every customer I ever asked about it doesnt notice or care. Likewise the now in-vogue steering wheel paddle shifters. The typical comments range from..”What the hell are these things?” “I dunno, I never noticed” to “I dont know, All I care is that I put the damned thing in Drive and it goes”
    I am constantly updating engine control units, transmission control units, or the 2-in-one powertrain control unit. I can’t say Ive really noticed any change in shift strategy, many times the shifts are softened a bit out of harshness complaints.
    I realize that technology moves forward, that emissions and fuel economy is more of a factor in today’s designs than outright performance, but many times I feel these new features are answers to questions nobody is asking.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I still prefer the ultimate adaptive transmission, a good manual box! There is no way for a car to adapt itself to me because my driving style varies based on what I’m doing, where I’m doing it and the mood I’m in. One day I might be playing a game of trying to maximize my fuel economy driving in a valley by myself while the next day might find me running a car load of people and their stuff through traffic on mountain roads. There is no way for the car to know what I have in mind at any given moment.

    Sometimes a whole boat load of technology is a horrible replacement for just doing it yourself.

  • avatar
    poltergeist

    Adaptive? Who cares? I won’t even consider a new car if you can’t get it with a manual transmission. Even my 60+ year old mom waited several months for the dealer to get an M/T equipped Honda Civic in the right color because she wouldn’t “settle” for an A/T.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    I find it an interesting technology. The tech-buff in me likes it, but as stated by several people (including the author), the technology just isn’t that useful in practice. I’ve now owned two cars with adaptive automatics – both Mitsubishis, who were an early adaptor of the technology, so I’ve thought about it and read on the subject quite a bit.

    My older car, a 1996 Galant ES, is from a time when Mitsubishis were notorious for failing automatic transmissions. It’s almost impossible to find a Galant or Eclipse from that generation (the 7th generation of Galant and second generation of Eclipse) with more than 120,000 miles on the original automatic – and many failed before 100,000 miles. Most Mitsubishi techs will attribute it to improper maintenance, but I feel it has something to do with this tech. I owned the car for a little over two years, and in that time, put more than 40,000 miles on it. It was a great car, and I never actually had trouble with the transmission, but the adaptive part meant it shifted about twice as much as a non-adaptive automatic transmission, and 99% of Galant transmission failures are caused by the transmission oil heating up (due to a poorly executed and overly complex cooling system – the car had trans cooling lines running throughout the engine bay to a seperate, 1/4 scale radiator mounted low in the nose solely for trans cooling purposes – the lines often became clogged and/or began leaking fluid). I feel this constant shifting – the car would often shift down to slow itself and back up two or three times when driving down a single hill – caused much more wear on the transmission than necessary. Mitsubishi claimed back then that this was mainly for brake-saving purposes, but the funny thing is, due to poorly-designed brake cooling ducts, that generation of Galant is also notorious for constant brake rotor warping and abnormally high pad use.

    My newer car – the Galant’s replacement – is a 2002 Diamante. It, again, has a four-speed automatic with adaptive technology (I believe Mitsubishi was calling it “INVECS” by this time, before that name was given to their manumatic-equipped automatics under the “INVECS II” moniker), which I’ve found shifts far less often than the Galant, particularly when decelerating or driving downhill. The transmission, rather than being a snap-shifter as in the Galant, is syrupy-smooth in the Diamante (one of my main gripes, and one of the main gripes of professional reviews done when the design was new in the late 1990s), and seems to laze about rather than frantically shift whenever you think it needs to. Example: you’re travelling 25 mph using 1/4 throttle, you come to a hill or need to accelerate for some reason, and you floor it, but rather than downshift to first to use the ample torque (230 lb. ft.), the Diamante slowly builds speed in second gear. It absolutely will not downshift, and despite a PRND32L gate, shifting to “L” will not activate first gear. The transmission seems solely for single-speed cruising or stoplight drag races (it shifts well from a standstill – first gear actually can hit 35 mph), but for anything else, it’s useless. I attribute this to the fuzzy logic, too. I haven’t had too much experience personally with newer cars using this technology, but it seems not to have improved much over my Galant’s transmission (a design which debuted with that car in 1992 in Japan) or the Diamante (again, the transmission design bowed with the car in 1995 in Japan). Just my opinions and personal experiences.

  • avatar
    dean

    Eric_Stepans: Then the best self-organizing pattern-recognition device in the known Universe can be in charge of when and how gears are shifted.

    Absolutely. It takes huge amounts of computer code to even approximate the pattern-recognition capabilities of a mere child. I suppose advancements in AI hold some promise in developing truly functional adaptive transmissions, but it will always be vastly more complex and less effective than a sytem comprised of a human, three pedals and an H-pattern lever.

    Unless the transmission can read your mind, however, it isn’t going to know that you can see a passing opportunity coming on the twisty mountain road, downshift in advance to get the revs into the peak torque band and go Right Now when you step on it.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Oh, the point to bringing the Diamante into the discussion is that the failure rate for Diamante automatic transmissions is far, far lower than for Galants. The transmission is actually one of the Diamante’s strong points concerning reliability.

  • avatar
    paradigm_shift

    Ummm, DSG anyone? What is the point of an overly complicated auto transmission that “might” provide you with more control when the DSG tranny has real world advantages that are quite easy to quantify. When I test drove a GTI, I was blown away by the fact that I had found an auto that I actually wanted (I’ve only owned manuals in my 10+ years of driving). Multiple drivers do nothing to confuse it. I just don’t see the point…

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    Keep mine manual, thank you. A transmission will never know how to change gears better than I do. For me, at least. And that’s who we’re talking about, isn’t it?

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Barring a catastrophic injury that forces me to use an auto, I never plan to own a car with an auto transmission again. Recent experiences with rental cars and the work vehicles have done nothing to change my mind about auto transmissions. As previously stated, no auto can anticipate upcoming road conditions. As long as I’m paying even slight attention to my driving, I can do a better job of selecting the right gear myself. If I were to own an auto, I certainly would not want a CV or adaptive transmission. Give me something with paddle shifters or such where I can continue to select what gear I want, when I want it.

  • avatar
    miked

    Ralph SS: Keep mine manual, thank you. A transmission will never know how to change gears better than I do. For me, at least. And that’s who we’re talking about, isn’t it?

    I have two comments – first a reply to Ralph. Actually, it is possible for a transmission to change gears better than you do, the DSG is probably there, if not it will be soon. Hell, even F1 drivers gave up and let the computers do the work. The question isn’t if the transmission can change gears better, it’s that the transmission doesn’t really know _when_ to change gears. The best autobox in the world will still never be able to anticipate what you want, only react.

    Now on to adaptive transmissions. I have done work in AI (I’m currently making my house a smart house – predictive, not reactive like what’s out on the market now), and the transmission wouldn’t be hard to make adaptive, and do it right. The trouble is that no one does it that way.

    Different Drivers? Don’t all the luxury makes now include RFID in the keys that identify the driver so they can adjust the seats and mirrors? Add that as an input to the tranny.

    Different Personalities of the Same driver? Just have the computer analyze the last, say, 5 minutes of driving and look for patterns that say “highway”, “twisty mountain road”, “angry after work driving”, etc. The number inputs are fairly small and easily quantified

    Feedback? Add a paddle shifter or manumatic of somekind and if the driver corrects the computer, add that to the learning.

    That’s just off the top of my head, but it could easily be done if anyone wanted to try. I know I could write the software in a year or two with real world testing (and I’m only an amateur with AI).

  • avatar
    Terry

    L47–
    One thing I noticed while servicing Mitsu automatics in ‘late 90s/early ’00s is that the ATF would not flow through the oil cooler unless the transmission was in a forward or reverse gear. So let’s say your in stop and go traffic, lot of accel from stops, ATF is hot and you put it in Park, engine running. Most cars the oil is circulating through the cooler ridding itself of heat, not so the Mitsubishis I worked on. Many of the trans failures resulted from overheated oil and marginal clutch packs.
    Maybe the later models have improved durability.

  • avatar
    L47_V8

    Terry:

    I was just theorizing on why they were so failure-prone. I didn’t know about the gear-dependent flow. Interesting information, as I usually put the Diamante into neutral while waiting for more than a few seconds in most circumstances (bank, fast food, etc.). I’ll have to remember not to do that from now on.

  • avatar
    morbo

    Gotta agree with you on the Diamante’s trans L47_V8. I’ve got the VX-R flavor of the 02 Dianante, and it WILL NOT upshift on command.

    As far INVEC 1/II survival rates, I’d like to see if their were materials engineering changes between the two, or just a programming difference (or both). Perhaps the cooling scenario is different, leading to less thans overheat and failure. Possibly their are sturdier steels and aluminums used in the later generation.

    But as far as adaptive transmissions, it’s something that decreased cost and improved processing capabilities of industrial electronics will improve. Eventually, it will be cheap enough for the TCU to simply have an algorithim of every driving style that can be programmed. Most drivers now don’t notice it (although it’s funny to see my mom’s car scream when I drive it aggressively versus it’s standard little old lady driving patterns). Even fewer will notice it in the future.

  • avatar
    Terry

    L47, it’s possible that the later Mitsu transmission have a different flow pattern than what I experienced with those earlier cars.
    I found the no-flow in Park and Neutral doing transmission flushes on them. Placed in D, all was fine.
    Keep a close eye on that transmission fluid color–The Mitsus would come in, fluid black as ink. And many had 5 magnets in the pan to catch iron particles from who knows where. Signs of oxidized fluid being asked to do too much with too little transmission to do it with.
    I get Mazdas with 30K+ miles, fluid getting black as well. Sign of the times.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Non-adaptive automatic transmissions worked well in millions of cars for decades. This editorial confirms adaptive automatic transmissions offer no discernible performance, cost or reliability advantage. Why do automakers supply extra cost bogus technology?

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    While I would have agreed with the majority here on choosing the manual, there are some vehicles that it just plain makes more sense to have an automatic in. Luxury cars for example, most trucks, etc.. are far more attractive to the user than a manual version.

    My current Legacy has impressed me with its ‘adaptive’ auto. One area I have noticed significant improvement is on hilly sections of my commute. In the beginning stages of ownership, it would downshift much earlier in the hills. It now hangs on a bit longer as I dont try to keep quite as much speed on the hills now. It also does not hang when I need to pass, downshifting reliably quick and with mo more lag/hang time than our turbo CX-7′s aisin 6spd.

    Interestingly (to me anyhow), I originally went to buy a manual 08 Legacy but was not impressed with the stick/clutch feel (replacing terrific 5spd and 6spd versions of the mazda 6). I chose the auto as the legacy was/is less sporting and more comfort biased than I had originally thought. 15K miles later, I have no regrets.

    Its certainly not perfect, but the better choice for my taste and use.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    What about drivers who have MDS? The way I drive to work at 5 in the morning is totally different from the way I drive home in the evening which is totally different from the way I drive when my wife and kid are in the car… What about emergency avoidance maneuvers that demand sudden changes in driving style?

    Just more reasons why 3 pedals are still the answer for drivers who demand maximum control of their vehicle (or a superfast paddle shift control).

  • avatar
    50merc

    Adaptive transmissions prove the wisdom of the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As windswords observed, “Torqueflite [was] one of the most reliable transmissions ever made,” and it functioned well. Four forward gears is all the modernization it needed.

    Mazda got into this sticky wicket twenty years ago, with mixed results. Its slushboxes offered two shift patterns chosen by pushbutton: economy, with quicker upshifts and slower downshifts, and performance with the opposite. That part worked fine.

    The other feature was artificial intelligence, which was much more artificial than intelligent. In cruise control, when the car needed to downshift while climbing a grade, once atop the hill the transmission stayed in the lower gear for a time. The assumption was that if there was one hill, there’d soon be another hill, so why not stay in the lower gear? Two problems: sometimes there really is only one hill, and sometimes it’s farther to the next hill than the computer’s assumption. Either way, you’d listen to the engine revving unnecessarily for twenty seconds or whatever, until an upshift got authorized. Like I said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    As a member of the give-me-a-manual-or-give-me-death crowd, I think adaptive autos are a solution in search of a problem.

    However, put a USB/iPod-like port on the dash so you could load another driver’s settings into your car – that may shorten the adaptive’s “learning” curve.

    Heck, I see a potential revenue stream here for TTAC. “Farrago’s Adaptive Settings” for a variety of transmissions could easily sell for $49.95 each.

    Of course, copy protection/piracy may be a problem. And I suppose the liability lawyers at the manufacturers might not sign off.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The autobox in the ’07 BMW X3 is the worst I’ve ever experienced in any car. It’s fine if you drive the car like a typical a-hole BMW driver, but make even an attempt at a smooth stop, and fuggetit. If you let off the gas and roll to a stop in most cars, the cars wait until you’ve stopped, and then call up 1st or 2nd when you start moving again. Not the BMW. If you’re in 4th and you let off, as the car slows down, it will go 4…*massive jerk* 3… another massive jerk 2… yet another massive jerk to 1. It’s like a 16 year old kid trying to learn how to use a stick. Absolutely horrific.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Davekay,

    Our X3 doesn’t do that (2004). I suspect yours is not working properly. If your dealer says that the behavior is normal, try another or call BMW.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Landcrusher,

    It’s not my car. If it was, I would’ve gotten rid of it. If you look around on the net, a lot of people have been complaining about the ’07 X3, it wasn’t something that affected the car pre-refresh. I’m not sure if they managed to fix it with the ’08s or not. Supposedly there is no fix for the ’07s.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I can wring some performance out of a plain jane escort with the stick shift, no adaptive transmission is going to beat that.

  • avatar
    allen5h

    I never liked the idea of some ‘puter (electronic or hydraulic) making these decisions for me, so I just stick to driving silky smooth Honda manual gearboxes.

    When I am cruising the interstate at 70 MPH and then take an exit ramp I disengage from fifth gear, increase the engine’s RPMs, and re-engage in third gear.

    Now how in the heck is some ‘puter supposed to know that I am taking an exit ramp and not just slowing down to 65 MPH because I am not able to pass some slow poke? By the time a “learned” ‘puter drops me by two gears (in one step) it is way too late, I would be halfway through the exit ramp.

    Here is another example: When I am accelerating onto an interstate I like to rip it in second gear all the way up to around 60 mph, and then I finish off the last 10 MPH on third gear, and then I start cruising on fifth gear.

    But when I am accelerating onto a non limited access hwy (55 MPH) I like to go from second to cruising on fifth. So how is a ‘puter sapposed to know the difference?

    About the only way to do this would be to incorporate human brain waves into a feedback loop with the tranny’s ‘puter. Human brain reading technology is not here yet. Buck Rogers 22nd Century?

  • avatar
    AGR

    If adaptive means that there is a computer interface enhanced by fuzzy logic.

    a- You step on the gas its adaptive.
    b- The transmission shifts its adaptive.
    c- You brake its adaptive.
    d- You skid its adaptive.
    e- You steer with an electric power steering its adaptive.
    f- You have an accident its adaptive.

    You are really in control or just generating inputs for all the “electronics” to do their adaptive jobs in the vehicle?

  • avatar
    hlt

    But isn’t a manual transmission more likely to need a new clutch before an automatic transmission needs any significant repair?

  • avatar
    Queensmet

    Adaptive transmissions?

    I suppose if you can’t work the left and right feet indepedently as well as the both hands it is a good idea, otherwise, as has been said earlier I believe that I can adjust to how I am driving better than some adative transmission. Give me a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    McMulhall

    My transmission is adaptive. I know what gear I need to be in per speed and rpm, and the transmission ‘adapts’ via my left leg and right arm. Simple!


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