What is Automatic Transmission : Types Advantages and How it Works?

In Automatic Transmission, The driver does not require to press the clutch and change gears very frequently. Therefore It provides comfort to the driver while moving around the city’s busy roads. In this article we will discuss what is automatic transmission, various technologies available and how they work? Don’t miss this article on what are self driving cars and how they work?

What is Automatic Transmission?

In manual transmission any change in speed or torque is achieved by manually pressing clutch and changing gears. Whereas Automatic gearbox or Transmission, automatically changes vehicle gears ratio according to speed and load requirements.

Automotive Transmission System consist of Clutch, Gearbox, Propeller Shaft, Drive Shaft, Differential etc. This system is used to transfer engine power (torque, RPM) from engine to vehicle driving wheels.

this image shows inside view if a car with automatic transmission.

For example, when we drive a manual transmission car. We shift gears very frequently according to road conditions and vehicle speed. But in AT vehicles, There is no need to shift gears. Vehicle gear ratio changes automatically. It is also known as Auto, self-shifting, m-speed automatic or AT transmission.

Automatic-Transmission Technologies

Automatic gearbox technologies are evolving with time. Following are some of the technologies available in existing vehicles.

  • Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)
  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT)
  • Automatic Transmission (AT)
Automated Manual Transmission (AMT)
This image shows an example of AMT Transmission

AMT is a type of semi-automatic transmission or clutch less transmission. It is similar to manual transmission. But Clutch press and gear shift operation is performed by a set of sensors and actuators. It is the simplest type of automatic-transmission available and low in cost. 

AMT vehicles do not require the driver to apply the clutch. Vehicle is controlled using the accelerator and brake pedal. If required, the driver can also manually shift gears up or down.

Automatic Manual Transmission Types
  1. Single Clutch AMT
  2. Dual Clutch AMT
How AMT Works?

AMT transmission utilizes sensors and hydraulic actuators to press the clutch and shift gears. Hydraulic actuators get input from the car ECU and work accordingly. ECU provides input according to vehicle RPM.

Advantages of AMT
  • Low Cost
  • Fuel Efficient
Disadvantages of AMT
  • Performance is not good in hilly terrain or at low Speed.
Continuously Variable Transfer (CVT)
This image shows a type of CVT Transmission in a car

CTV transmission does not have gears. It utilizes variable diameter pulley-belt drive to transfer the power from the engine input shaft to the wheels of the car. Car ECUs electronically control the shifting of belts from one shaft to another. CVT transmission cars have parking, reverse. neutral, drive and low drive shifts.

How Continuously Variable Transfer Works?
this image shows a CVT automatic Transmission Engine

CVT transmission system utilized variable diameter pulley belt to change car speed. In this belt length is constant. Sheaves are used to change pulley diameter. When sheaves of driven pulley are at distance. Pulley diameter increases, that reduces car speed. Whereas when shelves of driven pulleys are at a small distance. Car goes in high gear and car speed increases.

Advantages of CVT Transmission
  • Low Cost
  • High Fuel Efficiency
  • Smooth Ride
Disadvantages of CVT Transmission
  • High Maintenance Cost
  • When acceleration is applied, increase in speed in slow
Automatic Transmission (AT)
this image shows a Tiptronic Transmission
Tiptronic Transmission

It is a type of completely automatic transmission. Vehicle gear ratio changes as it moves on the road. Driver do not require to change gears or press clutch.

How AT Works?

Automatic-transmission consists of three major components.

  1. Planetary Gear
  2. Hydraulic Coupling
  3. Hydraulic Control

Planetary gear

They are used to achieve speed variation of output shafts. It has two inputs and one output. Output shaft is connected to the Planet carrier. Whereas inputs are connected to ring and sun gear.

Input shaft at the ring and sun gear is rotated at different speeds in order to achieve different speeds at the output shaft.

For example, when the sun gear is rotated and ring gear is stationary, Planet gear rotates at relatively small speed. Whereas when ring gear is also rotated along with sun gear, Planet gear rotates at relatively high speed 

Hydraulic Coupling / Torque Converter

It is a coupling between the engine and transmission and used to transfer power from engine to transmission. It is also used to lock and unlock planetary gears and works similar to clutch in manual transmission.

Hydraulic Controls

They are used to control hydraulic coupling. They get input from car ECU.

Advantages of AT
  • Great driving performance.
  • Hill Assist Feature
Disadvantages of AT
  • High Cost

We will keep adding more information on different types of automatic transmissions. Please add your suggestions, comments or questions on automatic transmission in the comment box.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *