We’re used to seeing some absolutely wild stuff. Car companies really can’t think of an idea so outlandish they won’t at least try it out on a concept before packing it in, whether it’s jet engines or bodies made out of bamboo.
So, when we say BMW is creating a transmission that uses GPS signals, topography, current speed, and other data to choose the precise and correct gear in an eight-speed transmission, you probably think it’s just another wacky idea.
Nope. BMW wants it in cars within the decade.
The technology alone is pretty incredible. It’s not just designed to automatically select the best speed: it’s designed to anticipate the road. For example, it can sense that there’s a curve ahead, the angle of the curve, and the grade of the curve, combine that with the speed you’re going, and shift into the proper gear, all without breaking a sweat.
If that sounds like a dream come true, well, it is. BMW’s been working on this system for years. Why? Safety. Keep in mind that they’re in Germany, a country noted for driving like maniacs (and if you think otherwise, hit the Autobahn at 3pm on a weekend and see what you think then). This technology will reduce crashes and save lives.
Oh, and also give BMW a huge advantage in all those races it participates in, but that wasn’t a deciding factor at all.