BMW Develops Transmission That Won't Allow Missed Shifts
BMW applies for a patent on 7-speed that will prevent bad downshifts.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: June 13th, 2012
ne way to increase fuel economy is to increase the number of gears a transmission has, since the increased amount of forward speeds helps improve overall efficiency. But while seven- and eight-speed automatic transmissions aren't starting to trickle into the marketplace, most manual transmissions stop at six speeds. BMW is working on changing that.
The transmission works by using a special fluid that locks out any gear but the correct one during downshifts when voltage is applied to said fluid.
This is mainly because as more gears are added, complexity is increased, thus also increasing the odds of drivers missing shifts. While rev limiters and other technologies can help prevent a missed shift from grenading the motor, the best way to keep the engine's RPMs in the right spot is to be in the right gear—doing so will also maximize fuel economy and performance in spirited driving.
To that end, BMW has applied for a patent for a manual transmission (complete with a conventional clutch pedal) that can have seven (or more gears) while preventing drivers from missing downshifts. It works using a special fluid that locks out any gear but the correct one during downshifts when voltage is applied to said fluid.
We like the idea but further details are a bit sparse. We're guessing a computer monitors both the engine and road speed before determining whether to activate the fluid or not. If so, we wonder if the system will work when a driver is attacking a racetrack or doing some aggressive back-road driving—there are some situations where there's more than one correct gear choice. Maybe the computer will be smart enough to differentiate between track driving and normal cruising? And maybe those smarts will save weekend warriors from expensive repair bills during the heat of battle?
We'll keep an eye on this developing tech.
[Source: Technabob]Related Vehicles: bmw