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Old 12th May 2015, 18:39   #31
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Hello,
This is indeed a nice and detailed review. Thanks for your comments. Last year, we were doing a similar exercise on a commercial vehicle (TATA NOVUS test truck) gearbox which had a manual transmission (stick shift). We knew that our competitors had been developing a complete AMT package for commercial vehicles but our thought of just automating the clutch was considered to be a value preposition as it can be retrofitted on any truck with a manual transmission (as more than 95% of all Indian trucks are manuals). The biggest challenge that we faced was for "Functional Safety". Compared to a full fledged AMT, this mechanism could be called as a semi-AMT as the driver would just need to change gears manually unlike the conventional AMTs exactly as described in your review. It's just the clutch that would be automated. Our fundamental intent of automating the clutch for a commercial vehicle was to reduce driver fatigue during bumper-to-bumper traffic scenarios and had the same control logic as designed by the German engineers in this case (i.e. opening the clutch once you let off your foot from the accelerator pedal and also allowing to shift only when this condition is satisfied) for safety purposes. We tried this concept on our busy Pune roads and got very good test results. We also had called some PMPML drivers to test this equipment for "abuse" . We made sure that the prototype vehicle had a redundant clutch pedal which the driver could over-ride in case of any "Safety critical" event. We also tried inducing some faults during testing. The major point of concern here is to validate a possibility of a situation where the clutch does not open (as the driver does not get that "feel" during shifting, a measure of how much is the clutch engagement as compared to a conventional MT and the driver also does not know whether the clutch is actually open or closed as he doesn't have that control here) and the driver shifts gears. One needs to check and address this risk as it may prove extremely dangerous if this case occurs in traffic situations.

Sanket

Last edited by Wagon R Rocks! : 12th May 2015 at 18:41.
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Old 12th May 2015, 18:41   #32
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
The only thing missing is the clutch pedal, otherwise it's exactly like driving a manual.
What happens if you try to shift gears but forget to take your foot off the accelerator? Is there some grinding noise that may lead to burnt clutches/ damaged transmission or is there some fail-safe mechanism built in to prevent you from shifting gears if you haven't backed off the throttle? In a typical MT, if we keep the throttle pressed and simultaneously press the clutch and shift gears, it will not be a very pleasant experience.
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Old 12th May 2015, 18:58   #33
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

I have not tested this system, but from what I read here, I would go against the general flow.

This can have a market in India provided there is a way to retrofit this on existing cars. Most AT cars today have a drawback, they are available only top of range. You most often have to buy the most expensive variant if you want an AT. If this can be retrofitted on any car, then we are not looking at just the 20k difference it would have vis a vis AMT/AT, but also the difference in cost of variants. Just imagine for a little over 20k, if you can convert your swift Lxis/Vxis, Polo trendline Punto Active/Dynamic/emotions to an almost AT car.

That is of course assuming that getting used to an idle left and working right leg is not an issue.
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Old 12th May 2015, 19:04   #34
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiat_tarun View Post
There is a guy in Pune who does this auto clutch thing for any car for around Rs.25000 - Rs.30000.
There are earlier attempts at Auto-clutch, using imported kits. The support from these vendors was also reported as being insufficient. These have not been reliable. You can look up the threads here.
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Old 12th May 2015, 19:05   #35
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by subhro1988 View Post
Is it possible to stall an ECM? The technology is supposed to help drivers in not stalling.
I never really came to know the reason behind the engine shutting down. I strongly believe that a vehicle with an auto-clutch 'should not' stall. The only logical deduction that i can make is that the bike must have co-incidentally come into reserve the same time (or perhaps a few seconds before) when i was about to take the U-turn, since i do not remember changing the knob to reserve. That might also explain the slight jerky ride that i had. But for everything else, my memory fails me as i do not remember everything on that short 10 min ride
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Old 12th May 2015, 19:28   #36
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

That was a nice read.

There are currently two driving styles:

1. Manual Transmission (MT):
  • Start the engine
  • Press the clutch pedal
  • Slot into a gear
  • Release the clutch to engage the gear
  • Drive!
  • Lift the foot off the the A pedal
  • Press the clutch pedal
  • Change gears
  • Engage the gear by releasing the clutch pedal
  • and the story continues...

2. Automatic Transmission AT (Including TC, DCT, CVT, AMT)
  • Start the car
  • Slot into any D gear
  • Drive!
  • After this, pretty much forget about the stick.
TC/CVT/DCT/AMT Whatever is inside, the driving style of an AT is pretty much the same(okay, Paddle shifters and AMT can give you some more options too).

Now ECM is a new thing and it falls exactly in between the AT and the MT.
So its obvious that it will be a pain for people used to any one of the two.
IMO any new thing that calls for changing what in ingrained in our minds will be tough to accept

However, ECM might not be entirely bad. I see a couple of situations where this might be helpful
  1. People who love shifting gears manually but are lazy or handicapped to press the clutch pedal
  2. If it can be retro-fitted. Cars with stone-hard clutch pedals can fit this one
And a bonus third one:
For people who want to switch from one style to another: AT to MT or MT to AT.
I'm thinking of a situation where you can hire/drive a car with an ECM for a few days, get used to changing gears/not using the clutch, and then buy a MT/AT.
This 3rd one sounds stupid i know

A decade ago, a person looking for an automatic had so few options and now we have all these different options in Automatic and this half AT half MT is another option-Is this a good news? Time will tell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
My first question: "So what's my left leg supposed to do while shifting?"
May be a dead pedal can be the answer for this.
Not the ones we get in current cars but a 'real' dead pedal which can be depressed but doesn't have any function

Last edited by hemanth.anand : 12th May 2015 at 19:36.
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Old 12th May 2015, 19:39   #37
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Hey guys,

I know I'm the newbie here, but this system was introduced for a short while by Saab. It was called the "Sensonic" and worked in a similar manner.

It wasn't that popular. It was even featured in a Top Gear Special, The Worst Car In The History Of The World wheres James May and Jeremy Clarkson hilariously try to park in on an incline due its lack of Hill-Hold.

That clearly shows the drawbacks of a similar system from a few years ago.

Thats just my 2 cents guys.

Cheers
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Old 12th May 2015, 19:40   #38
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by subhro1988 View Post
Is it possible to stall an ECM? The technology is supposed to help drivers in not stalling.
It depends on how one defines the control logic for the clutch actuation. One can allow the vehicle to shut down with a clutch open or a clutch closed position, but the clutch closed position is preferred by many for safety reasons as it prevents the vehicle from rolling down while on a descent in case of an engine stall/ manual turn off. This needs to be cautiously assessed while designing the logic as half of the mechanism is automated (clutch operation) while half of it is manually controlled (shift lever). Ideally, the engine should not stall as each time when you let your foot off the throttle, its just the clutch that gets disengaged from the driveline. The transmission does not come in neutral. The only possible scenario that I can think of is when you manually shut off the engine (turn of the engine) with the gear still in engaged position. If you design it with the clutch closed position, the vehicle may jerk ahead as the clutch will tend to close. There is always a time setting in the clutch ECU which you can set after which the clutch closes (which should ideally be just a little more than the time required for the engine to completely shut-off).
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Old 12th May 2015, 20:10   #39
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

I have been using hand operated clutch on my Tucson for more than a year now. I am perfectly comfortable with my left leg doing nothing and left hand changing the clutch whenever needed (lifting of the right foot off the A pedal as usual). Of course mine is a simple pneumatic mechanism, no fancy features like creep or hill hold, but my left knee has been so happy ever since :-)
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Old 12th May 2015, 20:59   #40
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Its the matter of perspective, for some its driving fun, for many its requirement. If this thing is a custom fit then I am one of the prospective customer. I have developed weak knee quad and am sure to sell my beloved T-Jet due to health concerns.
If this thing is available for a reasonable price with reliable custom fitting then I would certainly want to get it fitted on my Linea.

Looks like a ray of hope and saving of lakhs.
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Old 13th May 2015, 00:16   #41
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

I don't see what people are objecting to in ECM. It is just a matter of getting used to it.
For new drivers, it would be supper easy as they don't have to worry about learning how to release the clutch and stalling the car. Anything that makes driving easier should be welcomed. A full auto is the best, followed by AMT and then ECM which is better then a regular manual. The crawl function is wonderful as now you don't have release the clutch gently and accelerate a bit, press clutch again and so on every few seconds in bumper to bumper traffic. Here you just leave it in the first gear and let it crawl slowly and brake as needed. If ECM could be added to a vehicle for say 20k, it would be a worthwhile addition.
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Old 13th May 2015, 00:53   #42
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

They should have invited PMPML drivers as well (Pune City's Public transport ).
This technology might work for city buses because

- This technology is cheaper than conventional ATs, less procurement cost for the govt. (Ask PMPML how they avoid automatic Volvos )
- Conventional ATs consume more fuel, I think this one consumes less (just a guess)
- They will be less expensive to maintain than conventional ATs (again a guess)
- Using a heavier clutch all day in city can be tiring.

Off-topic: This technology indeed makes a strong case for cab drivers. When I was working on-site in a huge factory in Nagda (MP), the driver used to transport us to the Corporate office from the guest house and back. He once stalled the car very badly in the middle of the road by pulling the handbrake. When asked why did he do that, he said his legs were numb after all day of driving and he just couldn't feel his legs
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Old 13th May 2015, 08:50   #43
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

"Honda’s new City CVT now gets a torque converter along with the usual pulleys-and-belts business".
- The Source and Full Review:
http://www.topgear.com/india/our-car...s/city?id=2826

There's so much growth in automobile technology and technology in general, that it's a challenge just to keep up with the updates.

CVTs have evolved big time, and this article kinda proves it. In fact, I rate the modern CVTs a notch higher than the other automatics out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
CVT: I hate this gearbox so my opinion is to be discounted suitably. Not a bad choice at all in the A/B segment but a no-no higher up (am amazed Honda chose a CVT for the new City).

Conventional (torque converter) AT: My gearbox of choice in the lower segments. There was some frowning and shaking of heads as this is apparently an expensive option, comparable with the DSGs (you learn something new everyday).

DSG: Definite no-no in the A/B segment. Even if the cost permitted it, these boxes have an aura of luxury around them and it would be a fool carmaker who tries to plonk it into an entry level hatch. They agreed wholeheartedly.
Mod Note : Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers.

Thanks!

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 13th May 2015 at 09:00.
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Old 13th May 2015, 10:44   #44
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Not so. For there's one vital difference between this and other forms of automatic/automated transmissions. That's this: you have to take your foot off the gas when shifting gears! No matter that it's electronically done, the clutch still has to be depressed right? Which means you need to raise your right foot, shift the lever, and then lower your foot again. And this can be exhausting!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wagon R Rocks! View Post
Our fundamental intent of automating the clutch for a commercial vehicle was to reduce driver fatigue during bumper-to-bumper traffic scenarios and had the same control logic as designed by the German engineers in this case (i.e. opening the clutch once you let off your foot from the accelerator pedal and also allowing to shift only when this condition is satisfied) for safety purposes.
Sanket
Help me understand.

Does that mean the clutch is electronically pressed every time you lift your foot off the accelerator? I have an habit of coasting where I do not press any pedal and let the car cruise, this helps improve efficiency. If this is what happens in an ECM setup that would definitely reduce efficiency and might even be annoying.

Also on a downward slope in ghats your car is not in any gear if you lift you leg from the accelerator...isn't that bad?

Or may be this ECM setup doesn't exactly work that way...
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Old 13th May 2015, 11:11   #45
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

I learnt driving on a friends automatic and was thoroughly warned that after learning on an automatic, driving a manual would be a challenge. As most automatics are expensive, my first purchase was a manual... which I hated to drive. I constantly stalled it, got confused between gears at different speeds and clutch shifting, dreaded the sight of inclines- in a nutshell, it was a nightmare for me. I craved convenience while I was performing acrobatics with the gear shift and clutch. Fortunately, I was able to move on to an automatic soon, but if I'd had the option of retrofitting an ECM to my manual car... I'd have jumped at that opportunity. In hindsight, it was not the gear shifting but the synchronization of the gear shift with the clutch depress and release is what got the goat for me. If somebody could take care of the clutch, I'd have been more than happy to take care of the gears. For me, this looks like an opportunity that I want to try with my manual drive. My only question is- is this reversible? Say, I get the ECM thingy implemented on my car... if I don't like it, can the car be reconfigured back to stock (with the clutch pedal et al) or is this a one way street? Thanks
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