Pros and cons of robotic gearboxes: everything you need to know

Presentation of the robotic gearbox

To begin to explain how the robotic gearbox works, it must first be said that manual functions are replaced by automatic ones. Usually, those gearboxes designed to have automatic actuation also fall into the “robotized” category, but they have a mechanical system typical of manual gearboxes. The gears, therefore, can be coupled with sleeves and synchronizes. More about robots here

The robotic gearbox consists of a single lever with the following commands:

[R]: Reverse

[N]: Neutral, insane

[A]: Car, drive

[+/-]: Sequential, moving the lever back and forth or with the paddles (optional).

The gearbox is mechanical and, therefore, it is necessary to shift into neutral to change gear. When shifting to a next gear, the gearbox cuts off the gas, activates the clutch, changes gear, re-engages the gas and disengages the clutch.

It is the electronic motors managed by the computer that do everything.

How robotic gearbox works

Before understanding the pros and cons of robotic gearbox, let’s find out how automation works. There is the control unit which, by means of the actuators, makes possible the movements of the clutch and the engagement of the gears. Everything happens autonomously. The operations performed include the process of detaching the clutch, the passage of the transmission ratio between one gear and another and the consequent refitting of the clutch.

These processes are communicated to the engine control unit. The aim is not to consider the required engine torque that comes from the accelerator pedal to bring down the rpm in gear increments or to accelerate the engine when shifting gears, with a “Double” effect.

Electric and hydraulic actuators

The movements of the robotic gearbox take place via electric or hydraulic actuation, with separate lubrication. The advantages of electric actuators are the minimum weight and low cost compared to hydraulic actuators. These, however, allow a higher speed of implementation.

They are, in fact, used in Ferrari and Maserati vehicles, through the Magneti Marelli system. Less performing cars, such as the Smart, work with electric actuators.

Double operation: manual or automatic

The robotic gearbox has a dual operating system: manual or automatic.

When there is the automatic function, it is the control unit that establishes the gear changes. With the manual option, however, the driver chooses which report to use and insert. You can do it with a classic lever or with “Paddles” if there are buttons or levers on the steering wheel.

It should be noted that for the parent company, building a robotic gearbox is more convenient than a traditional automatic one. The robotic model consumes more. It must also be able to give power if you have to accelerate suddenly.

The advantages of the robotic gearbox

Let’s start studying the pros and cons of robotic exchange. First let’s analyze the advantages of this change.

Of course, it is easier to use than the manual models. It is therefore of greater practicality. The robotic gearbox is also economical when compared to standard automatic gearboxes with torque converters. The automated model, in fact, shares many mechanical elements of manual gearboxes, produced on a large scale.

Finally, the operation of the robotic gearbox is similar to the manual one. In fact, the slippages present with the torque converter does not occur. Also absent are the fluctuations in engine speed of the continuously variable gearbox (CVT type Mercedes A / B Class).

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