The experience of driving a car is regarded as an enigmatic pleasure. The modern-day automobile industry is advancing at a rapid rate. The creative inventions integrated with wheels are beyond the fringes. If you’re looking to buy a car or an enthusiast, you might have encountered the term automated manual transmission. In this article, we will learn more about ‘What is an automated manual transmission?’.
1. Conventional Manual Transmission
Most automobiles running miles worldwide currently have a manual or standard transmission. Manual transmission cars are also considered stick cars.
Manual transmission cars come with a gear stick in the center with a basic ‘H’ pattern. This stick shifts the gears. A typical manual car comes with five forward gear ratios and a reverse gear. Some cars have six forward gear ratios with a reverse gear.
Manual transmission allows the driver to attain control over his vehicle completely. The lower gears produce torque resulting in the required power to maneuver the car efficiently. However, lower gears are limited to lower speeds. The lower gear ratios also tend to affect the car’s mileage drastically. On the other hand, higher gears offer less torque and high speeds. Higher gear ratios are usually preferred to cruise the car over freeways. The reverse gear, as the name suggests, is used to drive the car in the opposite direction.
The accelerator and clutch pedal function the working of a standard manual transmission. The clutch is depressed to offer smooth gear shifts and the accelerator provides the required acceleration to the car.
The fuel efficiency in stick cars depends upon the driving behavior and statistics of the driver. A manual car needs to be driven properly with perfect use of gear ratios to make the car fuel efficient. Manual transmission with immature operation can also lead the car to drink a lot of fuel.
2. Advanced Automatic Transmission
Manual transmission cars can sometimes be challenging to drive, especially in traffic or steep situations. The constant stick shifting to maintain proper gear ratios and attain the required speed can be difficult for the driver. Automatic transmissions were brought into play to overcome such challenges.
Automatic cars allow drivers to experience a hassle-free drive. There are four main types of automatic transmission available in cars today.
2.1. Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)
Automated manual transmission, also known as the AMT, is the most cost-efficient form of automatic transmission. Manufacturers prefer using automated manual transmissions over other types to make the cars simpler and more affordable.
The main difference between an AMT and the traditional manual transmission is that the process of depressing the clutch and changing gear ratios is automatic. We will discuss more on ‘What is an automated manual transmission?’ further in this article.
2.2. Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
The continuously variable transmission also known as the CVT is the most different and unique form of an automatic transmission. CVT offers infinite gear ratios to power the engine. The purpose of a CVT is similar to other automatic transmissions but the functioning is distinct.
Continuous variable transmission works with the help of two conical pulleys connected using a belt. The belt and pulley change their positions respectively according to the needs of the engine. CVT turns out to be efficient because of the infinite gear ratios, unlike other gearboxes. All the scooters run on the mechanism of continuous variable transmission.
2.3. Torque Converter
The torque converter is the most reliable and earliest form of automatic transmission. Torque converters do the job of playing with the torque produced by the engine. This mechanism is based on the physics branch, fluid dynamics.
A torque converter does the same job as a clutch but the work is very intricate. A rotatory turbine ensures the operation of this transmission along with stators and sprag. Torque converters ensure efficient gear ratios and smooth operation of the vehicle. Due to their complex mechanism, torque converters tend to be on the higher side of pricing.
2.4. Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
Dual clutch transmission, also called the DCT, is a transmission made up of two clutches. DCT is the most progressive form of automatic transmission. It is also the most complicated form of transmission in the automobile industry.
The gear shifting in dual-clutch transmission is the quickest. The two clutches operate the set of even and odd gear ratios respectively. DCT selects the next gear before using the other clutch. Hence, a quick-shifting of the gear occurs.
3. What Is an Automated Manual Transmission? The Mechanism
Manual transmission tends to be the cheapest form of transmission in a car. Automated Manual Transmission or AMT is the solution that concates the affordability of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic transmission.
The technology of an AMT was developed minutely to consider it as the perfect alternative to traditional sticks. Automated manual transmission relieves the driver with the task of depressing the clutch and shifting gear ratios. It automates the functioning of the clutch and engages the required gears. But every other automatic transmission does the same thing. Then, what would be the perfect answer to ‘What is an automated manual transmission?’
3.1. The ECU
AMT works with the electronic control unit (ECU) of the car to control the clutch and gear ratio management. It does not rely on any pulley-based mechanism or dual clutches like the other automatic transmission. The working of an automated manual transmission is kept similar to a manual transmission. Thus, it ensures cost-effectiveness.
AMT uses an electric hydraulic actuation system to control the clutch. The sensors and mechanism of this system manage the smooth depression of the clutch. It works according to the driving statistics of the driver.
The electronic control unit (ECU) monitors the required data like the vehicle speed, rate of accelerator depression, and engine power. While the hydraulic actuator controls the disengagement and engagement of the clutch, ECU manages the smooth operation of gear-shifting.
Automated manual transmission also has a manual mode for the driver to take control of the gear-shifting process of the vehicle. The driver can switch the transmission to manual mode and can change the gear ratios with the help of stick operation or paddle shifters depending on the make of the vehicle.
3.2. Creep Functionality
All the automatic transmissions have a feature known as creep functionality. This function allows the car to move backward or forward at slow speeds without depressing the clutch. This is the same as the biting point of the clutch in manual cars. The biting point in manual cars, also called the half-clutch, is a point beyond which the car would move without using the accelerator. However, a half-clutch requires precision, or else the car will stall.
4. Advantages of Automated Manual Transmission
Now, you might be well acquainted with ‘What is an automated manual transmission?’… Let’s discover the advantages of using an AMT in cars.
4.1. Vehicle Cost
As mentioned earlier, automated manual transmission maintains the cost-effectiveness of a manual transmission. Cars equipped with AMT gearboxes do not have a stark contrast in pricing compared to the stick variants.
Also, the prices of AMT cars are much more affordable than the models with torque converter, CVT, and DCT. It allows the drivers to experience convenience at a lower price range.
Automated manual transmission stands on the thin line between manual and automatic transmission. AMT offers the control and raw feel of a manual transmission with the manual mode and the convenience of hassle-free driving with the auto mode. It is a simplified version of traffic commuting and cruising.
4.3. Fuel Efficiency
AMTs are made to perform in a way that ensures maximum fuel efficiency. Automated manual transmission shifts at a lower RPM than all the automatic transmissions. The gear-shifting average is different in AMT compared to other automatic transmissions.
Automated manual transmission uses minimal power from the engine resulting in lesser fuel consumption. Thus, AMT tends to produce better fuel efficiency than the conventional stick transmission.
4.4. Learning Accessibility
Automated manual transmission is the easiest gearbox for a new learner to drive. It allows the novice driver to maneuver without nervousness in jamlocks. The retainment of manual transmission in AMT can help the learner experience stick driving without the trouble of using the clutch.
AMTs are somewhat similar to manual transmissions. The electro-hydraulic actuator and a bit more complex ECU are the additional components required for its functioning. Hence, the maintenance and service costs of cars with AMT gearboxes are similar to stick cars.
The above-discussed advantages and mechanisms would have answered your query, ‘What is an automated manual transmission?’. The advancement of automated manual transmission has shifted buyers to consider AMT-equipped cars. AMT gearboxes can be a great option if you’re looking to buy an automatic car and want the perks of driving a stick. Click here to read more.