One of the topics in the several workshops held throughout the day was the development of a new adaptive 8-speed transmission.
Based on the current ZF 8-speed automatic, the new transmission utilizes a wide range of technologies, GPS mapping, DSC, wireless data connectiion, front and rear-mounted cameras and radar sensors, which all together can help the gearbox adapt its shifting pattern and power delivery to accommodate the road conditions.
Autoblog illustrates an example on how this new transmission would work.
“So, let’s say you’re heading out on the road and it’s raining. The data connection pulls in the most recent weather information, the DSC takes in the coefficient of friction of the road and then restricts power to avoid wheel spin. With the integrated GPS, the system can detect the next curve, recognize you’re in Sport mode and downshift into a lower gear to perfectly suit the bend you’re about to bomb.”
Essentially, using data from different sources, the 8-speed adaptive transmission would know what gear to use in a sharp curve and what is the appropriate gear to accelerate out. BMWBLOG asked if FlexRaywas necessary to handle the communication between sensors for the adaptive transmission and were told “No”, the bandwidth required to pull off the predictive/adaptive tranny was not greater than what a CAN bus can handle (about 1Mb a second).
BMW has refrained from commenting on when such technology would be available in production cars, but as we have seen in the past, the high-end BMWs tend to receive first the latest technologies; this assumption would place the 2016 BMW 7 Series as the prime candidate.