Happy birthday ! But it has not been an easy journey for the automatic transmission

Happy birthday ! But it has not been an easy journey for the automatic transmission

12.07.2015: • 50 years ago Bosch began teaching the car to change gear itself

•    50 years ago Bosch began teaching the car to change gear itself
 


Caption:    Andreas Bodemer, Regional President of Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Middle East and Africa


 The next time you drive your car home or to work in the UAE, its automatic gear change operating smoothly and effortlessly, you might reflect that it took half a century of testing and ingenuity to reach this point.


It was 50 years ago that the first Bosch prototype featuring electronic transmission control made its maiden journey, the start of an exercise in teaching the car to change gear for itself.


Today, half of all new vehicles in the world - perhaps more in markets like the UAE - are equipped with an automatic transmission, but it was never an easy transition for the car.


Used in 1965 as a test vehicle for a completely new type of system, the Glas 1700, a mid-range sedan, was said at the time to move as if by magic thanks to its revolutionary electronic gearshift.


The technology meant drivers had no need to depress the clutch, or shift gears by hand. It was an affordable alternative to expensive automatic transmissions, offered almost exclusively in luxury sedans.


But electronic transmission control technology was ahead of its time. “The market wasn’t ready for it,” said Andreas Bodemer, Regional President of Bosch Automotive Aftermarket Middle East and Africa based in Dubai. “In addition, the family-owned company Glas was acquired by BMW, and the automaker was not interested in using the new technology in its cars.”


Fast forward to 1979, and another Bosch invention triggered the mass success of the self-shifting transmission. With Motronic – a combination of electronic fuel injection and ignition – Bosch uniquely installed a freely programmable microprocessor in cars. It was the first time a computer had been used in an automobile.


“This basically offered a second chance for the transmission control system – this time for automatic, not manual, transmissions,” said Bodemer. “Combining the two systems, electronic transmission control and engine management, made automatic gear change far easier.”


In 1983, this transmission control system was installed for the first time in the BMW 745i. At the time, the technology was still quite exclusive, but over the next two decades it became standard in all cars with automatic transmissions.


The electronic transmission control, which synchronizes gear shifts with injection and ignition parameters provides optimum driving performance, comfort, fuel consumption, and emissions. Things we demand in our cars today.


The transmission control system selects gears in such a way that the engine is almost always in the ideal operating range. To make sure it stays that way, modern transmissions are equipped with digital intelligence that would have been science fiction not long ago.


In fact, the processing capacity of a modern transmission control unit is 160 times more powerful than that of the computer used for the first flight to the moon.


The journey continues, and Bosch now offers the electronic horizon, which connects the transmission with up-to-the-minute navigation information. Navigation systems shift the car into neutral during coasting and use the momentum built up when a lower speed is needed beyond the next bend.


The result can be additional fuel savings of ten per cent or more. From teaching the car to change gear, to helping it reduce emissions and be more environmental friendly. What’s next?

   



Sarah Brook, Total Communications Dubai also photo

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/bosch-happy-birthday-not-easy-automatic-transmission---138810.html

12.07.2015 / MaP

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