It ‘s not a new idea. The notion of your car knowing the road before you get there. But the future is upon us as evidenced by BMW ‘s recent Innovation Days in Munich. One of the technologies presented was a new prototype 8 Speed transmission that actually knows the road topology, weather and traffic. It all combines to give the brains of the new auto all the info it needs to properly identify the future and plan for is.

It ‘s an incredible idea that will find it ‘s way into more parts of the car in the years ahead. But we expect this first step to be taken in an upcoming premium product like the 7 Series before filtering down to the rest of the range. Read on for the full release.

Eight-speed automatic transmission with anticipatory transmission control system. In addition to the high degree of engine efficiency, the transmission technology featured in current models also contributes towards the exceptionally high level of efficiency of BMW automobiles. A significant advancement was achieved above all through the introduction of the new eight-speed transmission. An innovative gear set configuration featured in this transmission permits the combination of additional drive positions and a greater transmission ratio spread with a compact design and optimised weight.

Compared to the previously employed six-speed automatic transmission, the new gearbox features two additional gears and a transmission ratio spread that has been increased from six to seven, whilst the number of gear sets has been increased by just one to a total of four, the number of clutches even remaining the same. Thanks to the low number of additional components, the system’s internal efficiency is optimised.
In addition, the eight-speed automatic transmission, which is now combined with four, six, eight and twelve-cylinder engines, is characterised by particularly high shifting dynamics and direct gear selection. The electronic control of the transmission facilitates varying control maps for shifting characteristics, with which either an exceptionally dynamic or a comfort-oriented driving style is achieved.

Development objective: identify road profile, understand driver’s wishes. As a result of further development there is now the possibility to adapt gearshift commands given by the transmission control system to each driving situation even more flexibly and at the same time more accurately. The anticipatory transmission control system currently in the advance development stage utilises, in addition to the driver’s intention, further information to take into consideration road surface conditions, road topology as well as the traffic situation when selecting the ideal gear. For this purpose, the transmission control system is linked to both the DSC (Dynamics Stability Control) function as well as the navigation system in the initial stage. In the configuration levels that follow, a link-up with the cameras utilised for the driver assistance systems or radar and additional sensors respectively is under consideration.

The data provided by the DSC sensors pertaining to the road surface friction coefficient help the system particularly in the case of low friction coefficients to prepare optimally for the typical control intervention during the acceleration phase that follows. Using the data provided by the navigation system, it is possible to determine the radius of a bend long before it is approached. Based on this information the transmission control system then determines with even greater accuracy the gear required for a smooth driving manoeuvre and confident acceleration out of the bend. Moreover, using information provided by cameras and radar sensors and pertaining to the traffic situation ahead of the vehicle, it will in future be possible to determine for example the required amount of deceleration and adapt the drive management to each specific situation.

In practice and thanks to this anticipatory control system, the automatic transmission adapts remarkably accurately to the situation-related

requirements and demands of the driver. As a result of the complexity of the factors taken into consideration by the control system, the automatic transmission selects the appropriate gear similarly as foresighted as an experienced driver using a manual gearbox. It assists the driver with fast and appropriate response, which immediately leads to an increase in driving pleasure and optimised efficiency. Hence, the interaction between driver and vehicle reaches a new dimension.