The conventional manual transmission is, right along with four-door sedans, in decline across the industry – that’s not news. Certainly consumers demand it far less often than before, but manufacturers aren’t doing much to help it survive, notably by offering it mainly only with base models that are short on equipment.
There may be hope for those who like to shift gears manually using a lever, as the Autocar India site website reports that in India, Hyundai is about to launch a new type of manual transmission. But what’s remarkable is that this unit doesn’t bring with it a third pedal.
If you’re thinking this kind of system already exists, you're partially right. In fact, there are ‘automated’ manual gearboxes on the market. However, the unit that the Korean automaker is going to offer is different, as it has the typical H-shaped gear selector design of conventional mechanical gearboxes. Hyundai refers to it as the iMT transmission, for Intelligent Manual Transmission. The clutch it features is equipped with an automatic actuator.
It will be similar to other automated manual transmissions in that shifts should be a little rougher. Shifting won’t require the driver to take their foot off the accelerator, but doing so will result in smoother shifts, Hyundai says.
The most intriguing element of this new iMT is the "intention sensor". This sensor detects the driver's intention to shift gears, which sends signals to a Transmission Control Unit (TCU). The TCU then engages a hydraulic actuator and disengages the clutch plate when the driver changes gears.
Sounds interesting, but it does mean the transmission has an extra component, meaning an extra potential problem.
As mentioned, the new technology is going to be introduced in India; the unit is scheduled to make its debut in July in the Hyundai Venue, as well as in the Kia Sonet. We're still a long way from seeing it debut in North America, but if the system reliable and popular, it’s entirely possible Hyundai and Kia may decide to introduce it here in a few years.