In-Car Tech

Hyundai, Kia develop world's first predictive shifting tech that reads roads, traffic flow

There have been four-, five, and six-speed transmissions. All the way up to 10-speeds. Now, there's the world's first predictive shifting technology that combines traditional transmission functionality with smart computing that takes into account road conditions and the flow of traffic to shit into the right gear. By optimizing gearing, vehicles can have improved fuel economy and less wear on a their mechanical elements including the brakes.

Called the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Connected Shift System, the technology employs intelligent software in the Transmission Control Unit that collects and interprets real-time input from underlying technologies, including 3D navigation equipped with a precise map of the road as well as cameras and radar for smart cruise control. The automakers say that the 3D navigation input includes "elevation, gradient, curvature and a variety of road events as well as current traffic conditions. This occurs while radar detects the speed and distance between the vehicle and others, and a forward-looking camera provides lane information."

Hyundai Kia  ICT Connected Shift System graph chart how it works The ICT Connected Shift System uses a variety of intelligent technologies to perform tasks.Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Using these inputs, the system uses an artificial intelligence algorithm and shifts the gears accordingly. During testing, on curved roads the frequency of shifting was reduced 43 percent compared to vehicles without the system. It also reduced the frequency of brake usage by 11 percent.

Engine brakes are applied when an accelerator pedal is released when speed bumps are ahead, when downhill slopes emerge, and when the speed limit changes.

Currently, many vehicles feature a variety of drive modes that adjust shifting, suspension, and acceleration. This system is the first use of that technology with intelligent learning.

During the system development, the companies filed around 40 patents in South Korea and abroad.

The ICT Connected Shift System is just a step in the automakers' intelligent transmission technology development. They're working to develop the intelligence for the system to work with LTE and 5G communication to interact with traffic signals. However, this technology faces a major obstacle for use in daily driver scenarios because of the heavy investment required by municipalities to adopt that level of technology.

"Vehicles are evolving beyond simple mobility devices into smart mobility solutions," said Byeong Wook Jeon, Head of Intelligent Drivetrain Control Research Lab. "Even a traditional area of the automobile, such as the powertrain, is becoming a high-tech technology optimized for smart mobility through efforts to integrate ICT and artificial intelligence technologies."

The ICT Connected Shift System has not yet deployed to vehicles but the companies are planning to advance it in that direction as the technology evolves.

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The Nissan Pathfinder is just at home on the trial as it is on the road.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". The message is about making choices and, how the road taken made all the difference. Often in life and on the road, we have to make one choice. Take one road. No turning back. I thought of this poem on my recent test drive in the 2022 Nissan Pathfinder in the hinterlands of Montana, when I could take two different roads—paved and dirt—and that made all the difference!

Nissan has redesigned and retooled its fifth-generation Pathfinder instilling greater latitude for buyers who want to travel both types of roads and expand their adventure footprint. After seven decades of off-road development, 35 years in the business of selling Pathfinders, and with more than 1.8 million sold in the U.S., this Japanese automaker has moved the needle with a ground-up revision of the previous-gen model.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder is a capable off-roader.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The full-sized sport utility is available in four trims (S, SV, SL and Platinum) and two- and four-wheel drive versions; Nissan expects that nearly 60 percent of buyers will choose four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder is in a segment that has grown larger each year as more families want a vehicle for around-town, school and playdate runs and for weekend getaways with traction technology that allows travel in the backcountry and good towing capability. Direct competitors are the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer.

A day-long drive of approximately 150 miles on tarmac and over a variety of dirt roads and tracks provided the opportunity to assess the Pathfinder's updates. A late-spring snowstorm added slickness to all the road surfaces in the region and allowed the Pathfinder to show off its traction capabilities at both slow and higher speeds and with lane change and emergency-braking maneuvers, when towing. I concentrated my evaluation on the augmented hardware and software designed to enhance the crossover's capabilities for backcountry travel and towing.

What I found most notable over every road surface was the comfortable ride and responsive handling that come from a collection of upgrades—and, in particular, as a result of the following: the gearing on the new nine-speed transmission, with paddle shifters for personal and more precise shifting for sport driving and slowing over rough terrain; the new terrain mode system that's engineered for different driving conditions; the four-wheel drive system that moves torque more quickly to avoid wheel slip; the improved suspension system; and new tires with a larger contact patch and more aggressive tread pattern, among other changes.

2022 Nissan Pathfinder Pathfinder's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Pathfinder provided sure-footed motoring and comfort over uneven surfaces. Its 7.1 inches of ground clearance easily maneuvered over the small obstacles on the trail and hill descent control took the reigns without hesitation for steeper and longer downhills on traction-compromised surfaces.

I was also impressed with the Pathfinder's towing competence and appreciated the standard trailer sway control onboard all trims. It offered notably strong, mannered acceleration from a standing start and excellent straight-line braking without porpoising for either exercise.

The new 2022 Pathfinder brings off-road and towing attributes that are important to families who are seeking to spend time in the backcountry for days trips and longer and for overlanding in terrain that doesn't require a true off-road vehicle with a low range. It's will appeal to buyers who want don't want to have to choose only one road.

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New appearance package

2022 Kia Stinger gets new Scorpion Package

The range-topping GT2 trim is available with a new Scorpion Package.

Kia

Passenger cars have been losing ground to SUVs and trucks in the United States for years, but that hasn't stopped some automakers from continuing to build compelling, fun-to-drive coupes and sedans. Kia is among them, and has just announced a new addition to its Stinger lineup for 2022. The fastback sedan will still offer blazing performance from either a turbocharged four-cylinder or twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine, but will also be available with a special edition package that adds unique exterior styling and interior trim pieces.


Kia Stinger GT2 with Scorpion Package The package includes exclusive wheels and exterior appearance changes.Kia


The Scorpion Special Edition will be limited to just 250 units per month and will only be available to customers in the United States. Kia says the package is expected to sell out quickly, and notes that it will be available for the Stinger GT2 RWD and AWD. The package will be offered in Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black, and Ceramic Silver paint colors.

The 2022 Stinger got several other meaningful updates to keep it fresh. They include a new LED exterior lighting scheme, geometric alloy wheels, and a sportier quad exhaust system. Kia also added a new GT-Line trim, which gets a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that make 300 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. The GT trim that can be equipped with the Scorpion package gets a twin-turbo 3.3-liter V6 that get a bump in power to 368 ponies and 375 pound-feet of torque. Power hits the rear or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.


Kia Stinger GT2 with Scorpion Package The Stinger GT2 is available with RWD or AWD.Kia


The Stinger can match its bark with some real bite, but it also happens to be a spacious, comfortable sedan with plenty to like inside. The car gets a standard 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a multi-device Bluetooth system, wireless charging, and more. The Scorpion Edition adds carbon fiber pattern trim pieces throughout the cabin.

The 2022 Kia Stinger is on sale now. The base GT-Line trim starts at $37,135, which includes a $1,045 destination charge. The Stinger GT1 starts at $44,735 and the GT2 trim starts at $52,335. Adding the Scorpion Package to the GT2 model bumps the price by $1,295.


Kia Stinger GT2 with Scorpion Package The Stinger got a new exhaust for 2022.Kia

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