As the global focus on autonomous or self-driving cars gathers pace, the automatic transmission or continuously variable transmission (CVT), with its high efficiency and comfort, is emerging as an ideal solution for automobile innovation says a report by supplier Varibox.
The company believes that autonomous vehicles are around the corner, and says that the current investment in driverless technology by venture capitalists and major car manufacturers like Ford, Volvo, Fiat, Tesla and BMW interprets its optimism that it is likely "we might be cruising in self-driving cars sooner than we thought".
Additionally, there is a massive enthusiasm around autonomous vehicles with leading tech companies Google, Apple, Uber and Intel reportedly ploughing major investment into emerging markets. According to one CNN report, “2016 was the tipping point for excitement over driverless cars.”
The report has it that the upsurge in autonomous driving technologies is good news for CVT manufacturers. It claims that the CVT is arguably the most suitable type of transmission solution for driverless cars and most autonomous vehicle OEMs will have no choice but to adopt the technology when they start manufacturing.
Varibox states that compared to other forms of automobile transmission, CVTs offer specific benefits of smooth driving, compactness and adaptability as well as complete control over the correct gearing ratio to be engaged in. Thus, they are ideal for autonomous vehicles where the driver less actively controls the vehicle. It also provides a high-level comfort which is essential in self-propelled automobiles.
The statistics from leading international CVT supplier Bosch indicate that global annual production of CVTs stands at 14 million units in 2017, up from 3 million units or a jump of 367 percent about 10 years ago. The uptick in demand for CVTs has been boosted by their suitability for hybrid and pure electric vehicles, whose production and demand are on the rise across the globe as manufacturers rapidly move towards introducing vehicles that produce lower carbon emissions.
New pathbreaking CVT
According to Varibox, it has created and patented a new ground-breaking multi-parallel power path CVT called the ‘RADIALcvt’ which can applied in standard, hybrid and pure electric passenger vehicles. The company says the innovation is scalable and has higher mechanical efficiency than other conventional CVTs currently available in the market.
The RADIALcvt's key features include a single friction drive interface in series, at least 6 power split friction drive parallel paths, a constant input radius on the friction drive input, a constant clamping force via springs (no hydraulic control system), as well as a very large radius variation on the friction drive output.
Although the RADIALcvt is currently suitable for hybrid and pure electric vehicles, Varibox plans to continuously develop its CVT technologies to ensure that they fully meet requirements for future applications including autonomous driving.