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Old 22nd October 2014, 13:30   #1
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Default Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Tata Motors is planning to equip its trucks and buses with automated manual transmission (AMT) in the near future. The development is likely to be welcomed by drivers of commercial vehicles since it will make driving considerably less stressful.

Drivers of commercial vehicles can get fatigued after long drives. With an AMT in place of a regular manual gearbox, they will be free of the relieved of the effort needed to press the clutch for every gearshift. Additionally, AMT boxes are not as expensive or not as heavy on fuel as conventional automatics. This would result in the technology being accepted by commercial vehicle operators more easily than conventional automatic gearboxes.

The company is rumoured to be testing AMT gearboxes on the Ultra range and could use it in the Ace LCV too. If Tata Motors adopts AMT technology for its commercial vehicles, other commercial vehicle manufacturers could also make a shift.

Tata Motors introduced AMT technology on its recently launched Zest compact sedan. The company has had good market response to the car and plans to equip more cars in its line-up with the technology. Tata's Upcoming passenger cars with AMT include the Bolt hatchback and Nano AMT.

Source: Economic Times
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Old 22nd October 2014, 14:05   #2
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

There are inherent issues with AMT in terms of

- Forward movement in hilly area from stand-still, the wheels will roll back without brake application

- Performance of AMT under overload (which is standard in trucking business)

- Poor maintenance conditions, significantly long oil change intervals (exceeding 20-30k km) in most cases

- Roadside repairs

Tata's will have to start with organized players (like fleet operators for automobile sector) to test their AMT product instead of straight sales in open market which might boomerang. Their present fleet of intercity buses could also get an AMT instead of torque converter.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 14:18   #3
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
AMT boxes are not as expensive or not as heavy on fuel
Hope this move is well accepted by the market. Would make driving easier for all drivers. Would hate to see longer hours of the already stressed drivers.

I think the drivers will initially not get full control of the AMT and its characteristics. They could be forced to drive smoothly if the box is tuned to upshift early. (Unlike the possessed men they drive like today)

Also why not add more speeds to the AMT box?

And what about hill starts? Use hill hold systems?
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Old 22nd October 2014, 15:07   #4
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

I think this is a BRILLIANT move.

I've seen in many documentaries that truck drivers live very stressed lives, and having such stressed people driving along the highways scares me. (Though MANY are excellently disciplined drivers IMO.)

This AMT will not only reduce the physical stress, but also the physiological tension for the drivers.

I guess TATA's definitely understand the driving patterns and load patterns better than any other commercial player in the market. Based on that they'll map the ECU and maybe even provide options to choose "High Load", like they did for Zest with "Sport Mode".

Could this even open the sector to female drivers? Theres a serious shortage of drivers, and if this works out well, transport companies could provide training & employ female drivers, thereby massively increasing capacity.

Maybe they'll be able to use this for heavy load vehicles where they need more than 5 gears, because AMT technology is after-all based on programming hydraulic actuators to shift automatically.

Good Work, TATA Motors!

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 22nd October 2014 at 15:15.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 17:23   #5
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
If Tata Motors adopts AMT technology for its commercial vehicles, other commercial vehicle manufacturers could also make a shift.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrammarNazi View Post
I think this is a BRILLIANT move.
Quote:
Originally Posted by D4D View Post
Hope this move is well accepted by the market. Would make driving easier for all drivers. Would hate to see longer hours of the already stressed drivers.
AMT has been in use in Commercial vehicles for quite some time. Contrary to what is being made to look like, Tata's AMT is not the first of its kind. In fact, they're pretty late to the party. My guess is, the only reason they have speeded up this launch is to be able to qualify for JnNURM-2 bidding - AMT is a mandatory feature in UBS-2.

Probably the first mover is Ashok Leyland, with their Leymatic. First rolled out in the JanBus, which is now being employed by WBSTC in Kolkata. VRL operates a fleet of AL intercity buses, fitted with this same Leymatic. Before Leymatic, AL had retrofitted an Allison AT in some of the intercity buses as well as city buses down south for user trials. The recent launch, AL Boss is offered with AMT in the higher variant.

Volvo has been offering their B9R buses with i-Shift for quite some time. That's also an AMT. i-Shift is a globally acclaimed system.

Scania, which is now in the news, for launching their intercity coaches (KaSRTC is running a couple of those buses between Bangalore and Mysore), also comes with OptiCruise, again an AMT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
There are inherent issues with AMT
Quote:
Originally Posted by D4D View Post
And what about hill starts? Use hill hold systems?
AFAIK, these "inherent issues" are taken care of, or else these products that I mentioned above, won't have made their way into the market. And I'm pretty sure that the maintenance of the gearboxes is not any more difficult or easy than the existing manual ones, as the AMT system is merely an add-on. The oil change interval is to the tune of 120k km for AL's GBs, and around 80k km for comparable TM models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D4D View Post
Also why not add more speeds to the AMT box?
Depending on the application, the underlying GB can have 6, 9 or more speeds. The i-Shift employed by Volvo in their longhaul trucks sometimes have 12 speed GBs.

Last edited by silversteed : 22nd October 2014 at 17:32.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 17:51   #6
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

I remember Wabco betting on AMTs in a big way. They held demos earlier this year : related link. This post in particular is interesting:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitronium View Post
Having driven Ashok Leyland's BOSS vehicle 1213 variant ( 130 HP CRS Mated with 6 speed GB+ AMT), I can say that the system works very well.

3 buttons are present on the selector lever in the cabin.

(C)- Crawler- holds 1st and second gear only. Useful for overload application on ghat sections. Torque delivery is immediate, no lag noticeable.

(E/P)- Ecomomy/Power. Self explanatory. Gear shifts happen faster and at lower RPM. Power mode for single lane driving where the full torque band has to be used for overtaking.

(M/A) Very interesting to use. Al la Tiptronic systems in cars, pushing the selector lever forward shifts up and down, vice-versa. The shifting isn't DSG fast (haha) but immediate enough. I'd put that down to the fact that the GB is is still manual, but the selector assembly is mated to two pneumatic lines that do the shifting by pushing the selector plates into required position. The pneumatic transmission is really no match for faster electronic responses on cars.

Overall: Superb driving experience. Market perception is another issue all together. Drivers whom I showed this vehicle to were shocked to see the lack of a clutch pedal and therefore apprehensive of the way it would drive, lower mileage and higher engine power. After a few kilometers of driving though, most of them were completely sold. I'd say higher cost is the only thing stopping chaalak-maalaks from buying the vehicle.

It's good to see the CV industry taking huge steps forwards like this.

Feel free to ask about the AMT system. I shall do my best to answer any queries.

ninjaedit: @DWind: yup it is a WABCO system
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Old 22nd October 2014, 19:47   #7
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

AMT's are seen extensively in the developed markets like US. However, in Indian market, in my opinion, we do not have large fleet operators to create a pull from customer side for AMT usage in trucks, and also there is very less concern about the driver safety and comfort. These two factors are primarily preventing the AMT in Indian market.

Issues like forward movement from standstill could be improved with the Hill Start Aid feature and the intelligent shift selection solutions could help improve the performance.
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Old 22nd October 2014, 21:51   #8
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
- Forward movement in hilly area from stand-still, the wheels will roll back without brake application

- Performance of AMT under overload (which is standard in trucking business)

- Poor maintenance conditions, significantly long oil change intervals (exceeding 20-30k km) in most cases
To counter these points. 1: Drivers can use the brake pedal/accelerator combination to get moving. Either that or Tata can install hill-hold systems. These days electronics are not that expensive to install.

2. The AMT is just a control unit on the existing gearbox. There is no change in the mechanical connection between engine and wheels, therefore, no change in performance under overload. The same clutch issues affecting the MT (if any) would affect the AMT. Further, AMTs are likely to be kinder to clutches than drivers typically are. This could help actually improving reliability and performance under load.

3. Once again, the mechanicals don't change, so the effect of poor maintenance does not change.

Last edited by carmayogi : 22nd October 2014 at 21:52. Reason: Fixing quote
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Old 23rd October 2014, 11:47   #9
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Quote:
Originally Posted by D4D View Post
I think the drivers will initially not get full control of the AMT and its characteristics. They could be forced to drive smoothly if the box is tuned to upshift early. (Unlike the possessed men they drive like today)
I believe all such drivers do undergo extensive training (as a mandatory requirement) before they are handed over the AMT versions. BMTC drivers in Bangalore, for instance, need to undergo a training at the Volvo facility and are evaluated before they get to drive a BMTC Volvo
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Old 23rd October 2014, 14:40   #10
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

AMT is also quite expensive compared to manual transmission ( to best of my knowledge about 35-40% more than MT, please correct me i am wrong), for the market like India which is extremely cost conscious, price is another factors which is holding it back.

Another factor which i came across while reading about AMT's sometime back was, resistance from Experienced Drivers. they usually say that shifting the gears at right time is their skill which they have learnt and understood over a period of time and hence are not easily ready to accept the AMT's in their trucks. Though it has been more prevalent into the developed market , now,the new generation of drivers are not much inclined to MT as they have never used it even in cars.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 16:22   #11
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autolock123 View Post
AMT is also quite expensive compared to manual transmission ( to best of my knowledge about 35-40% more than MT, please correct me i am wrong), for the market like India which is extremely cost conscious, price is another factors which is holding it back.

Another factor which i came across while reading about AMT's sometime back was, resistance from Experienced Drivers. they usually say that shifting the gears at right time is their skill which they have learnt and understood over a period of time and hence are not easily ready to accept the AMT's in their trucks. Though it has been more prevalent into the developed market , now,the new generation of drivers are not much inclined to MT as they have never used it even in cars.
You almost got the pricing part right, with the AMT. CVs fitted with AMT evince interest among large fleet owners, where the variance in fuel efficiency and maintenance can be cut down if the gear-shifting follows a pre-set algorithm, and the dependence on the driver's skill is brought to a minimum. A fleet owner would see the big picture - additional investment to be made for an AMT truck vs the savings made by obtaining a higher kmpl from the fleet by reducing the dependence on the drivers - there will be extremely skilled drivers who can extract great figures, and there will be rookies who won't be able to extract good FE in a bid to meet timings. In our country, good drivers are in short-supply, and fleet owners will have to make do with whoever approaches them.
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Old 23rd October 2014, 18:14   #12
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Very good move. Its high time India caught up with auto (functionality) gearboxes as mainstream. If cars needed it badly, I am sure trucks need it even more badly.
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Old 24th October 2014, 09:42   #13
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Arrow Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

I have seen long distance truckers using a brick on the "A" pedal (Literally) and just controlling the steering. During emergency braking, they have to simultaneously hit the "B" pedal and kick off the brick. This can be tricky / risky at times. One can not change their mindset, but a Cruise control would solve this issue and make this option, much safer.

IMHO, long distance truckers deserve features such as AMT, Cruise control, ABS and Power steering. This will help drivers and also make our roads safer.

Last edited by GTO : 24th October 2014 at 14:48. Reason: Paddle = Pedal :)
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Old 24th October 2014, 12:41   #14
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
There are inherent issues with AMT in terms of

- Forward movement in hilly area from stand-still, the wheels will roll back without brake application
Quote:
Originally Posted by carmayogi View Post
To counter these points. 1: Drivers can use the brake pedal/accelerator combination to get moving. Either that or Tata can install hill-hold systems. These days electronics are not that expensive to install.

As quoted by Carmoyogi, its a interim solution to train the drives to use brake pedals in left leg till the vehicle moves forward. But that is not a complete and right solution and there are options like using a relay valve in brake circuit, sensing the roll over by using pole wheel sensor(similar to ABS) and then braking, to use a new Crawler mode where in when its switched on brake will be engaged for limited time post removing the foot pedal so that vehicle moves forward.
Anything which is feasible with given boundary conditions of vehicle integration can be adopted easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
- Performance of AMT under overload (which is standard in trucking business)
There will be no issue in overload, but actual problem will be there when its a overload coupled with wheel struck in mud. Here the simulations are similar to manual and you need some more additional tyre grip for the vehicle to come out. But as quoted here, AMT is actual so nicer to clutch and ensures uniform and less wear on all sides. So better the clutch face better the way to come out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
- Poor maintenance conditions, significantly long oil change intervals (exceeding 20-30k km) in most cases

- Roadside repairs
Here the risk is there and its open to Customers. Everything cannot be taken care by manufacturer itself and it needs support from Customers as well.
But what I would suggest is Tata should work on increasing the oil drain interval from the current levels of 80k Kms which is tad lesser and a much robust GB .
Reason being AMT systems are little straight forward and will refuse shifting gears if they found abnormal increase in shifting force. Say a input shaft spigot bearing fails and due to which it increases the axial play between the shafts. This will cause problems in AMT, as system will find increase in shifting force and will refuse to select gears and will reject. YOu cannot even choose a manual mode and select the same gear. SO vehicle is off road.
But say in a manual GB these issues can be overridden either by choosing lower or higher gear. So the funda is GB should be strong(in a contextual meaning to AMT) and should be trouble free, as any removal and refitting of system will require careful assembly and system learning which is time consuming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by i74js View Post
Tata's will have to start with organized players (like fleet operators for automobile sector) to test their AMT product instead of straight sales in open market which might boomerang. Their present fleet of intercity buses could also get an AMT instead of torque converter.
This is where, the difference between a passenger car market and commercial vehicle market comes. In my experience in CV industry, I have seen very few products(or features) which receive overwhelming response. Even Prima, which was too good in terms of features and options, the response was relatively cold limiting to major Tata KAM customers.
In this case, majority of market getting convincing is done by AL and so it will be cat walk for Tata, provided they target right application.

None of their Tata's Intercity buses currently have torque converter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
AMT has been in use in Commercial vehicles for quite some time. Contrary to what is being made to look like, Tata's AMT is not the first of its kind. In fact, they're pretty late to the party. My guess is, the only reason they have speeded up this launch is to be able to qualify for JnNURM-2 bidding - AMT is a mandatory feature in UBS-2.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Autolock123 View Post
AMT is also quite expensive compared to manual transmission ( to best of my knowledge about 35-40% more than MT, please correct me i am wrong), for the market like India which is extremely cost conscious, price is another factors which is holding it back.
J2 doesn't mandate AMT but gives as a option to use either AMT or AT. But AMT being cost effective, it has favored AL in pricing largely. The difference between AMT and AT itself is close to 1.5 lks.
And Tata did showcase its Diesel hybrid bus in Auto Expo 14 with AMT and it was too bad last minute cook up job.
The SLU was straight lift and harness and cables were just left loosely hanging.

Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles-dsc00773-copy.jpg


Quote:
Originally Posted by Autolock123 View Post
Another factor which i came across while reading about AMT's sometime back was, resistance from Experienced Drivers. they usually say that shifting the gears at right time is their skill which they have learnt and understood over a period of time and hence are not easily ready to accept the AMT's in their trucks. Though it has been more prevalent into the developed market , now,the new generation of drivers are not much inclined to MT as they have never used it even in cars.
Quote:
Originally Posted by silversteed View Post
You almost got the pricing part right, with the AMT. CVs fitted with AMT evince interest among large fleet owners, where the variance in fuel efficiency and maintenance can be cut down if the gear-shifting follows a pre-set algorithm, and the dependence on the driver's skill is brought to a minimum. A fleet owner would see the big picture - additional investment to be made for an AMT truck vs the savings made by obtaining a higher kmpl from the fleet by reducing the dependence on the drivers - there will be extremely skilled drivers who can extract great figures, and there will be rookies who won't be able to extract good FE in a bid to meet timings. In our country, good drivers are in short-supply, and fleet owners will have to make do with whoever approaches them.

The biggest advantage of AMT is, it increases the fleet KMPL. In a fleet of 2000 odd trucks, the spread between the best and worst driver is very high and so it nullifies the fuel performance brought by the experience drivers. This is what AMT targets and tries to reduce the variance and spread so that avg fleet kmpl is increased.

Last edited by Ashley2 : 24th October 2014 at 12:47.
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Old 24th October 2014, 12:59   #15
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Default Re: Tata Motors to use AMT in commercial vehicles

I agree.AMT is a good solution to raise the average fleet KMPL. Can anyone give some insights on the what could be the payback period for truck with AMT?
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