Automotive news

Hyundai Motor Group Develops World First Active Shift Control for Hybrids to Enhance Fuel Economy and Joy of Driving

Hyundai Motor Group has developed the world’s first Active Shift Control (ASC) transmission technology. The innovation optimizes transmission efficiency by monitoring gear shifts 500 times per second, precisely adjusting the transmission rotation speed to for faster shift times. The new technology will premiere in the upcoming Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and eventually benefit other upcoming Hyundai hybrids.

ASC applies new control logic software to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU), which then controls the electric motor to align the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission to reduce gear shift time by 30%. The technology also delivers smoother gear changes despite quicker shift times.

“The development of world’s first ASC technology is a remarkable innovation which incorporates precise motor control to automatic transmission,” said KyoungJoon Chang, Vice President and Head of Powertrain Control System Group of Hyundai Motor Group, “It will not only save fuel but also provide a more fun driving experience for our customers.”

Hyundai Motor Group

Innovation: Independently Developed Control Logic Software Applied to the Electric Motor


Conventional hybrid vehicles do not have torque converters in order to further improve fuel economy as torque converters lose energy during the process of transmission. Although fuel efficient, such a system also requires longer shift times to ensure smoother gear changes.

ASC technology allows the hybrid’s electric motor to also take control of gear shifts by applying new software logic to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) to mitigate issues with slower shift time. The HCU monitors the rotational speed of transmission with a sensor installed inside the electric motor at 500 times per second to quickly synchronize the rotational speed with that of engine.

With the synchronization, shift time is reduced by 30% from 500ms to 350ms. This not only improves hybrid vehicle’s acceleration performance and fuel economy, but also durability of the transmission by minimizing friction during gear shift.


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Hyundai Reveals New Technology to Assist Hearing-Impaired Drivers


Hyundai Motor Group has revealed a new innovative technology that assists hearing-impaired drivers by replacing sounds with visual or touch-based cues, and using advanced sensor and artificial intelligence technology to help them ‘hear’ the traffic around them.

The technology employs two separate driving assist systems that work together simultaneously – the Audio-Visual Conversion (AVC) and Audio-Tactile Conversion (ATC). They use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze sound patterns outside the car, and then use vibrations of the steering wheel and pictograms displayed via the head-up display (HUD) to alert the driver and explain what the system can hear. The steering wheel is also equipped with multi-colored LEDs which indicate navigational information while driving.

For example, the technology could alert the driver of emergency vehicles by recognizing the sound of a siren, vibrating the wheel as an alert and displaying the appropriate pictogram on the HUD. It also translates data from vehicle sensors – such as when reversing – so the driver knows how far the car is from obstacles without relying on the warning chime.


Hyundai demonstrates the technology in a campaign video called ‘Quiet Taxi’. The campaign video, along with the technology itself, emphasizes the value of ‘freedom of mobility,’ demonstrating Hyundai’s efforts to enable the hearing-impaired to drive freely and safely using state-of-the-art innovative developments. As part of its goal, Hyundai also developed an application that enables communication between passengers and drivers who are hearing-impaired.


The documentary follows Daeho Lee, Seoul’s first ever designated hearing-impaired taxi driver, as he uses the driving assist technology.

Mr. Lee, a father of two children who recently began a new career as a taxi driver, had difficulties with hearing and had to rely mainly on his sight. This caused problems with other drivers when he could not hear the horns or sirens of surrounding vehicles. Additionally, he needed to constantly rely on his vision, which caused fatigue at a rate many times that of the average driver.


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Hyundai Showcases World First Self-driven Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle


A fleet of Hyundai’s next generation NEXO fuel cell electric cars, fitted with autonomous technology, has successfully completed a self-driven 190 kilometer highway journey in Korea. It was the longest distance covered by a self-driving vehicle on Korean roads and included travel at speeds of up to 110 km/h, the maximum allowed. It followed previous successful tests at lower speeds and on local roads.

Three NEXO models took part in the drive, with the next-generation fuel cell electric SUV scheduled to be released in Korea next month. All vehicles were equipped with level 4 self-driving technology, as defined by the SAE international standards. This allows the car to safely drive itself without any human input, referred to as ‘mind off’ autonomy.


The demonstration started in Seoul with the ‘CRUISE’ and ‘SET’ buttons being pressed on the autonomous-driving steering wheel of each vehicle, at which point the cars immediately switched to self-driving mode and began the 190 km journey to Pyeongchang. Entering the highway, the vehicles moved in response to the natural flow of traffic. They executed lane changes and overtaking maneuvers, and navigated toll gates using a wireless expressway payment system.

Building on Hyundai’s successful demonstration of autonomous prototypes early last year, the cars featured a number of refinements that enabled them to recognize surrounding vehicles more accurately, make better judgements at junctions and at branching roads, navigate through toll gates by accurately calculating the toll gate’s width and position, and precisely pinpoint the vehicle’s position on a map by using external sensors fitted for situations when the GPS signal was interrupted, such as going through long underground tunnels.

“Hyundai’s philosophy for developing autonomous driving technology is to provide the highest level of safety combined with a high standard of convenience that our customers expect,” said Jinwoo Lee, head of the Intelligent Safety Technology Center at Hyundai Motor Group.

The NEXO fuel cell electric SUV can drive more than 600 km on a single charge, which takes approximately five minutes. The model boasts world-class system efficiency of 60%, durability equivalent to internal combustion engine-driven vehicles and a load space of 839 liters.



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Hyundai Reveals Next-Generation Powertrain Strategy


Hyundai has confirmed plans to introduce 16 new engines and six new transmissions by 2022, as part of its next-generation powertrain strategy alongside the development of alternative energy drivetrains.

The new series of powertrains, called ‘Smart Stream’, was first announced with a display engine at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with the carmaker combining a series of design and engineering improvements to produce a new generation of more efficient internal combustion engines.

Hyundai has now demonstrated the first four engines and two transmissions planned for production, to around 1,200 engineers and academics at its International Powertrain Conference, held in Korea in late October. In total, the strategy includes 10 petrol and six diesel engines.


The Smart Stream technology incorporates number of advanced technologies to deliver improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions. Beginning with the introduction of 1.6-liter petrol and diesel Smart Stream engines, the technology will eventually be available for all Hyundai Motor Group vehicles, alongside the development of new plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains, plus the company’s next-generation Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV).

“We will see increasing mainstream acceptance for electrified drivetrains within the next 10 years, and will they will substantially replace internal combustion in the 10 years or so after that,” said Hyundai’s Head of Operations for Africa and the Middle East, Mike Song.

“However, we will still need to build build tens-of-millions of petrol and diesel engines before they become obsolete. With Smart Stream, we are making internal combustion as efficient and as environmentally friendly as possible, which is an important part of our transition to a more sustainable future.”

Smart Stream technology optimizes the existing powertrain structure, with engine components reduced in size and weight to enhance fuel efficiency. With the advanced combustion techniques of Smart Stream engines, Hyundai aims to maximize thermal efficiency by up to 50% in the future.

Engineering improvements include the first commercial application of Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology. In the Smart Stream G 1.6 turbo engine, the opening and closing of the cylinder valve is timed to best respond to various driving modes, such as eco-driving or dynamic driving.

Other new technology includes the Smart Stream eight-speed wet Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT). Unlike conventional automatic transmissions, the dual-clutch system enables optimal shift response, with the eight-speed gearing and high-efficient hydraulic system delivering both faster acceleration performance and excellent fuel economy at the same time.

While maintaining focus on improving the efficiency of its internal combustion engines is important, Hyundai will continue to lead the industry in Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV), by investing in the development of its next-generation hydrogen powertrain.

The next FCEV from Hyundai Motor Group will have a driving range of 800km, a maximum power output of 163PS, and the largest hydrogen storage density of any Fuel Cell vehicle on the market.

As a pioneer in the development of low-emission powertrains, the Tucson Fuel Cell, and the IONIQ Plug-in Hybrid and Electric powertrains used in the 2016 IONIQ and Sonata models, represented key advances in alternative-fuel engineering. Drawing on this extensive experience, Hyundai Motor Group will introduce 31 eco-friendly models to the global market by 2020.