Predict-a-Shift: Hyundai, Kia Claim Transmission Breakthrough

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
predict a shift hyundai kia claim transmission breakthrough

Since the automatic transmission’s birth shortly before the outbreak of World War 2, driver input and road load have dictated what gear a traditional autobox finds itself in. But what if a tranny could instead predict the optimal gear for the road not yet travelled?

That’s a question Hyundai and sister division Kia claim to have answered. Enter the company’s just-announced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connected Shift System.

The predictive system, born of advances in ICT and a concerted effort by engineers at the Korean automaker, enables “the vehicle to automatically shift to the optimal gear after identifying the road and traffic conditions ahead.”

It seems the development process saw 40 patents filed by the company.

Not a demonstration exercise, Hyundai and Kia plan to introduce a so-equipped transmission in future models. From the automaker:

ICT Connected Shift 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 of the road as well as cameras and radar for smart cruise control. The 3D navigation input includes elevation, gradient, curvature and a variety of road events as well as current traffic conditions. Radar detects the speed and distance between the vehicle and others, and a forward-looking camera provides lane information.

Using all of these inputs, the TCU predicts the optimal shift scenario for real-time driving situations through an artificial intelligence algorithm and shifts the gears accordingly. For example, when a relatively long slow down is expected and radar detects no speed irregularities with the car ahead, the transmission clutch temporarily switches to neutral mode to improve fuel efficiency.

Indeed, fuel efficiency is at the core of this effort. Hyundai has made strides on that front in the recent past, introducing the first of its Smart Stream engines — a mill that combines greater thermal efficiency with reduced friction. An ICT Connected Shift System, when combined with Smart Stream tech, would presumably boost a model’s efficiency even more.

Another plaudit for predictive shifting is reduced brake wear, as the vehicle could downshift in anticipation of a curve or area of reduced speed. In a test on a curvy piece of track, a vehicle equipped with the new tranny tech saw the vehicle execute 43 percent fewer shifts in cornering, with brake operation lowered by 11 percent. Having the automatic downshift in advance of a curve (with less plow-inducing braking effort) helps a driver power out of it — and stay planted while in it.

As well, the ICT-controlled gearbox could automatically switch into sport mode during times when greater acceleration is required, like when merging onto a freeway.

Hyundai didn’t say when such a system might find its way into a production car, though it did say work is ongoing. The company plans “to further develop the ICT Connected Shift System into an even more intelligent transmission technology that can communicate with traffic signals based on LTE or 5G communication and identify drivers’ tendencies, resulting in further refinement of gear-shift control.”

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Feb 23, 2020

    The only transmission from H/K which I have considerable seat time using was manual and it was terrible. When my car got rear-ended, popping out some sensor for the cooling system causing it to overheat, I was given a same generation Forte with an automatic as a loaner. That drove like a dream. My vehicle was a 2011 Forte with the 6 speed, that randomly denied me access to 4th gear requiring that I either bounce back to 3rd or skip it altogether and go into 5th gear. I've not experienced their more recent manual transmissions and couldn't say if mine was an anomaly, but I would rent a vehicle thus equipped. I like trying things, just not buying them prematurely.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 23, 2020

    Trying different vehicles is good because you can get a better idea of how a vehicle drives. Better to try out a vehicle before you buy it.

  • Tassos The EQS is the best looking BEV, better than even the only Tesla I would ever consider (the S) and more luxurious inside etc etcThe self driving features will come in handy when I'm 110 and my eyesight and reaction times start to suffer.But that's four decades away, and only Tim recommends 40 year old "used cars"
  • Tassos "Baby, Baby light my fire!""Oh God please give me a Kia Forte" --Janis Joplin
  • Tassos The fugly looks of any Subaru, and especially the non-sporty non-elegant, fugly, low-rent looks and interior of the WRX are alone a sufficient turnoff to never want to own one.One can be a 100% car enthusiast but ALSO demand a beautiful AND luxurious vehicle one can be truly proud of and which makes one very happy every time one drives it.The above is obviously totally foreign to Subaru Designers and managers.Αnd who cares if they sell all they make? this is 100% worthless bragging, since they hardly make ANY. ALL of Subaru's models together, all dozen of them, sell less than the top selling Toyota or Honda or even Tesla sells. ANd furthermore, if you have the intellectual horsepower to understand it, bulldude, which I am 99% sure you sure as hell do not, it is NOT about the sales units, it is not even about the sales revenue.It is all about the P R O F I T S.Am I going slow enough for you, bulldude?
  • Thehyundaigarage Am I the only one that sees a Peugeot 508?
  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.