Hyundai and Kia collaborate to create predictive, connected, automatically shifting gear system

©Agence France-Presse

When a slew of car components like the infotainment system and driver assist tools can be powered by smart tech, why not the gear shift, too?

On Monday, Hyundai Motor Group announced that it has teamed up with Kia Motors Corporation to create the "world's first" ICT (information and communication technology) connected shift system, a tech designed to optimize one's driving experience both by reducing the number of unnecessary shifts and by tailoring the drive to the current road and traffic conditions. 

The ICT system uses artificial intelligence to select the "optimal shift scenario for real-time driving situations" thanks to a collection of cameras and radars integrated into the vehicle. When testing the system on a curved road, the frequency of gear shifts was reduced by about 43% compared with cars sans ICT.

Hyundai and Kia intend to develop the system into one that can communicate with traffic signals via LTE and 5G connectivity which would allow the gears to be shifted even more efficiently. As vehicles become more autonomous, the feature will also result in a smoother, more efficient ride.

Though the technology is not yet available, the company's both plan to integrate it into future vehicles where it will complement the already existing Smart Drive Mode, a mode that also automatically shifts the car's gears but does so based on the driver's preferences.