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In recent times automatic transmission has become a popular process in the automotive industry. Users dispense with the clutch pedaling and engine lugging or racing using automatic transmission. The advantage of resorting to automatic transmission is it provides a hassle-free and easy procedure of handling the automobile. In the past, automobiles offered only manual transmission with forward and reverse gears. Now with the introduction of an automatic transmission, manual handling has been dispensed with.
Emergence of Automatic Transmission
The automatic transmission was invented by a Canadian Steam engineer named Alfred Horner Munro in the year 1921. This technology based on compressed air pressure never could become commercially popular. It was General Motors that used hydraulic fluid for automatic transmission in the 1930s and then introduced Hydra-Matic transmission in the year 1940.
Evolution of Automatic Transmission
Though the process was introduced in 1930s and was developed in the year 1940, the first true automatic transmission model was Oldsmobile in 1948. The hydra-matic model was designed by Earl Thompson, a General Motor’s engineer. It was considered to be the greatest advancement made in the automobile industry since the introduction of the self-starter. While the basic designs and features remained unchanged, the automatic transmission technology underwent numerous evolutions till 1955.
Replacement of Hydra-Matic
It was the General Motors again that replaced the Hydra-Matic with Jetaway in the year 1956. However, the process was not a roaring success and it was again replaced by the Turbo Hydra-Matic in the year 1969. There cannot be a difference of opinion that the Hydra-Matic was one of the revolutionary introductions in respect of transmission technologies in the automotive industry. The reason was that it was the first automatic transmission technology that became a resounding commercial success. It also opened avenues for the introduction of a series of later developments in the transmission system.
Simplicity of Use Counted for Popularity
The automatic transmission arrived at a time when North America was experiencing a post-victory boom after World War II. Numerous automatic transmissions were developed and used in the automobile industry. It was the simplicity of use and convenience that made the process popular. It also improved the perspectives of an increasingly widening mobile workforce.
Most Important Features in the Technology
What are the most important improvements in the realm of automatic transmission till date? It is the number of forward gears these transmissions presently use by switching from mechanical to electronically controlled operations in the system. According to experts, the mechanically operated automatic transmission system has reached a saturation point whereas the electronic operated automatic transmission has a huge scope for improvement.
The Concept of Automatic Transmission
Automatic transmission is known by different nomenclature like auto, n-speed automatic, as well as self-shifting transmission. Basically, the technique is used for the transmission in motor vehicles. The driver need not bother about gear changes as the same is automatically adjusted with the change of speed. The most common automatic transmission in vehicles is the use of a hydraulic planetary transmission system that is automatic. This system uses fluid coupling replacing the friction clutch and ensures gear changes through hydraulic locking of the gear.
System Preventing Automatic Rolling of Vehicles
One of the greatest advantages of using the automatic transmission system is that it prevents automatic forward or backward rolling of the auto. This protection makes it very convenient for the user to park the vehicle in even crowded parking places. It is not only in automobiles that automatic transmission is used but the technology is also common in types of machinery like forklifts, lawnmowers, and others.
Automatic Transmission in Multiple Forms
Automatic transmission comes in multiple forms and that makes its use quite extensive in the industry. Other forms include CVT or continuously variable transmissions and semi-automatic transmission. In any case, the basic objective of using the technology is dispensing with a manual change of gears and preventing breaking gear pinion or causing damage to the vehicle or machine due to wrong changing of gear not commensurate to the speed level. While different automatic transmission processes use different tools the common benefit is that the automated process makes the changes in plying the automobile or the machines safer and easier.
Why Drivers Prefer Automatic Transmission
It is not a fact that the automatic transmission has become popular without reasons. The greatest advantage of using it is that drivers are freed from using the clutch pedal as well as the manual shifting of gears. It also minimizes the use of limbs by the driver. In addition; when the system runs on an automatic transmission, it dispenses with the requirement of paying continuous attention to the gears and clutch pedals reducing the stress factor. Drivers using auto-transmission also find their workload reduced in the result. They can now focus more on the road with both hands on the wheel. Moreover, automatic gear changes make the control of the vehicle easier for the driver.
Migration from Manual to Modern Automatic Transmission
Migration from manual transmission through the automatic transmission has not been a cakewalk. The experts and inventors in the field have been working on the concept since the beginning of the 20th century. There were many failures during 1900-1930s when the concept of horseless carriage was followed by designers to achieve smooth automatic transmission. Ultimate success came first in the form of hydraulic automatic transmission and a gradual shift to the electronic automatic transmission. It all happened with REO and General Motors developing semi-automatic transmission replacing the manual transmission and by the emergence of fully automatic transmission by the 1960s. In those days the problem of engine stalling was resolved with the use of fluid coupling in automotive use. The most common hydraulic auto transmission process was the Hydra-Matic introduced by Oldsmobile and later developed by many others.
To sum up; automatic transmission became popular in automotive industry because it not only spared the drivers of manual handling of using gear and clutches for speed control that could not only be a daunting task in high traffic areas. On the other hand, the auto transmission shifts gears according to the current speed of the automobile making it safer for the driver, the vehicle itself and other passengers in it.