BMW developing adaptive transmission that studies road conditions

BMW 8-speed adaptive transmission
BMW 8-speed adaptive transmission

It’s hard to believe that cars only 40 years ago cars had as little as two cogs in their gearboxes. Now you can’t get any less than four in the most basic automobiles. On the other end of the spectrum, Lexus invented the first 8-speed automatic transmission at the debut of the current LS.

BMW soon adopted the 8-speed auto through ZF and is now going to take it a step further. The German make just finished up its annual Innovation Days in Munich after show casing a range of new innovative ideas from their R&D’s coffee breaks.

These ideas include a range of lightweight components and discussions regarding future EV concepts with range-extending turbocharged three-, four- and six-cylinder engines as well as a new adaptive 8-speed transmission that can predict curves and road conditions.

Utilizing GPS mapping, a wireless data connection, Dynamic Stability Control, and front and rear mounted cameras and radar sensors, the transmission will be able to translate this data and actively adjust the shifting pattern and power delivery to best suit the road conditions.

For example, during rough conditions, real-time weather data will be sent to the car and the DSC will detect the coefficient of friction for the road and will restrict power accordingly to avoid wheel spin – interesting.

And if you’re about to bomb a corner, the GPS will detect that next curve and recognize if you’re in Sport mode and will automatically downshift into a lower gear.

BMW didn’t exactly say when this technology would hit production, but we could only guess this kind of technology will be showcased in its flagship, when the next 7-Series will be released.

– By: Chris Chin