Software in the Developement of Transmissions

Matthias Heß reports

Intelligent Transmissions

Dual-clutch transmissions stand out not only for their high degree of efficiency and multiple gear set designs. The way they behave can also be dictated by the flexible use of software.

Changing Gear as Required

As with converter transmission with planetary gear sets the dual-clutch transmission is a powershift transmission. Gears are changed without interrupting the tractive force. With dual-clutch transmission, engaging a gear and the procedure for changing gear used by the driver are actually separate procedures. The next gear is already engaged in the background in the passive sub-transmission. It is then activated by one clutch closing and the other one opening.

To a large extent, the 'overlapping gear change' occurs freely. By way of example, the second clutch can be closed faster to give the gear change a sportier feel, or the overlap can be programmed in such a way that the gear change is hardly noticed. This allows the car manufacturer to adjust the behaviour of the automatic gearbox to the features of the brand and the wishes of its customers. Some manufacturers also offer driving programmes allowing different characteristics to be selected for a vehicle.

Programming in the vehicle

Networked Functions

The overlapping gear change is programmed by software. When which gears are engaged and how the dual-clutch is activated is set out in the Transmission Control Unit (TCU). The transmission control units communicates with the engine management unit and other vehicle functions.

Communication between these functions will continue to grow. By way of example, traffic data or information about the topography of the route can be used to optimise the vehicle's behaviour, including the transmission. Communication between vehicles and with the infrastructure will also influence future drive systems. The transmission of the future will combine excellent internal efficiency with intelligent behaviour within networked traffic.

The development of transmission software and interdisciplinary cooperation with developers from other vehicle areas are constantly gaining in significance.

Next to the engine, the transmission is probably the most important part of a motor vehicle. Reacting to a variety of vehicles calls for flexible solutions. When we develop our dual clutch transmission, the software plays an extremely significant role. Our specialists program controls that are custom tailored to the transmission systems. They allow every vehicle model to be adapted individually to the needs of our customers. When is it time to shift? What does the shift feel like? At this point in the development process, the transmission is adapted for the handling the customer wants from the car. Should the focus be on sporty or comfortable driving? Should the transmission be optimized for performance or designed to save fuel? The various issues show that the demands on the end product are becoming ever more diverse. A competitive dual clutch transmission doesn’t just require a good hardware solution, but development of software that gets the most out of the product.

Transmission Systems offers software specialists a broad spectrum of professional possibilities: (functional) software developers, software integration engineers, applications engineers, software quality engineers and software test engineers — they all work to make a product that meets customer and market demand.

In the following videos, colleagues from the software field present their work and describe why developing software at Transmission Systems is so exciting, what fascinates them about it, and how they got into the profession.

Tasks of an Application Engineer - Andreas Kramer reports

Andreas Kramer is working as Application Engineer at Transmission Systems since April 2014. In this video he talks about his tasks, the challenges in his job and why he likes to work at our site in St. Georgen.

Why Software plays such a central role in the Development of Transmissions - Matthias Heß reports

Matthias Heß is Senior Manager Software Application at our Development Center in Cologne. In this video he describes the tasks of his department and he explains why Software plays such a central role in the Development of Transmissions.

Dual Studies IT-Automotive - Daniel Hägele reports

Daniel Hägele already finished an apprenticeship at Transmission Systems worked as a testing mechanics and is now studying at the Co-Operative State University Stuttgart focusing on IT Automotive. In this video he talks about his studies and what he likes most about it.