BorgWarner prepares manual gearchange for ADAS vehicles

  • 22-Aug-2017 05:04 EDT
AMTC i-Clutch unit.jpg

The production AMTC unit employs an actuator and electronic controls to provide sailing functionality without giving up the traditional gearchange experience. It's also a key to integrating manual gearboxes with ADAS. (BorgWarner image)

Can manual transmissions live with ADAS? BorgWarner engineers are hopeful they can.

Electrification was supposed to spell death for the manual transmission. The same has been said for manuals and automated driving systems. But BorgWarner is in the final stages of developing a new clutch-automation technology that allows electrification with a Manual transmission.

Known as the Active Manual Transmission Clutch, or AMTC, the clever technology employs an actuator and electronic controls to provide “sailing” functionality for increased fuel economy and lower emissions without giving up the traditional-shift experience.

“We have demonstrator vehicles running around in Europe with such a system,” noted Brad LaFaive, Vice President, Sales, Transmission Systems. Some applications retain the clutch pedal and hydraulic operation. “But we have controls that override that for ‘sailing’ and for stop-start maneuvers, or to avoid wearing out your left leg in heavy stop-and-go traffic.”

He said BorgWarner has an OEM interested in the application and the system is currently in advanced development. Both wet and dry clutches are being evaluated.

BorgWarner is expected to show new propulsion technologies for combustion, hybrid and electric vehicles at the 2017 IAA in Frankfurt. The AMTC is among the company's new portfolio of electrified driveline technologies (see http://articles.sae.org/15576/).

Integrating a manual transmission for automated driver assistance systems, admittedly not a simple task, is also under development. “One of the beauties of the automated clutch is it can intervene in an emergency event; we’re in the process of trying to implement that,” reported Joel Maguire, the company's Director of Electrification, Advanced Engineering.

While the BorgWarner control algorithms and friction material will be necessarily sophisticated to enable features like sailing and automatic launches, Maguire noted that the system also needs to be “smart” and able to interface with the autonomous emergency braking system to open the clutch upon an emergency road event and allow the vehicle to be stopped safely, while allowing the driver to immediately drive out of harm’s way.

This same situation with a traditional manual transmission would have resulted in a stalled engine and a delay in restarting the engine in order to recover and move out of harm’s way.

Maguire said his engineers have "some interesting solutions" on the way.

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