BMW just wrapped up its annual Innovation Days here in Munich, and in addition to detailing its new modular engines (turbocharged three-, four- and six-cylinder powerplants), showing off a range of lightweight components and discussing the possibility of equipping a future EV with a range-extending engine, BMW revealed plans for a new adaptive transmission based on its current eight-speed gearbox.
Utilizing GPS mapping, a wireless data connection, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), front and rear-mounted cameras and radar sensors, the transmission can adapt its shifting pattern and power delivery to suit road conditions.
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.
The range of applications is only limited by the amount of data the system can pull in and process, and while BMW wouldn't divulge when this technology would hit production, there's a good chance that the next iteration of the 7 Series could benefit from the system and then filter down throughout BMW's range.