February 9, 2007 One of the most remarkable claims we’ve heard in a long time and it appears to be true – UK-based technology company Zeroshift has developed the killer app for automobiles – an ingeniously simple way of replacing synchromesh in a manual gearbox with a reliable, cheap-to-manufacture mechanism that allows completely seamless gearchanges. Whatsmore, the Zeroshift Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) changes gear faster than any other gearbox (gearchange time is, as the name suggests, zero) and provides improved acceleration, economy and emissions in any vehicle to which it is applied, be front wheel drive cars, rear wheel drive cars, four wheel drive, motorcycles or trucks.
For road vehicles, extra refinement is available by combining gear shift actuation with a clutch, and the resultant system is claimed to be more efficient than Audi/VW’s DSG and a cost effective alternative to the traditional torque converter based automatic transmission. Viewed from a performance basis, the Zeroshift has another compelling attribute – it makes the same vehicle faster – when accelerating with a normal transmission, each up-shift requires the driver to cut the torque momentarily by lifting the gas pedal and dipping the clutch. Good drivers can do this very quickly but not as quick as the Zeroshift which enables the gas pedal to remain pressed firmly against the floor, without any torque interruption. Accordingly, if it takes 30ms for each gearchange, and you have 30 gear changes per lap for 60 laps, Zeroshift offers a 54 second advantage if all other factors are equal. There’s an SAE paper on the subject available here and a great article on datalogging during the development of the system here.