Gearshift device of a steering wheel group
The concept is based on a touch-sensitive surface located on the gearshift paddles of the automatic gearbox. The touch surface is activated when contact is made with a fingertip. Thus innovative interactions with the car are made possible while keeping both hands on the steering wheel. Enhancements for efficiency, safety, driving experience are possible e.g. a seamless, intuitive auto/manual mode.
The basic feature: the touch-sensitive paddles enable the driver to switch temporarily and seamlessly from auto to manual mode (and back) just by touching (and releasing) one of the paddles, even without shifting gear, and with no need to activate a button or lever. Examples: the driver can touch the lhs paddle to override the auto mode temporarily, and downshift manually when approaching a corner to use engine braking (which in turn translates into a satisfactory driving perception) then release contact to go back to auto mode and let the gearbox perform the upshifts on power. The driver can delay automatic upshifting by touching one paddle in order to achieve safer acceleration occasionally e.g. when overtaking. After slowing down without stopping e.g. when entering a roundabout, the driver can prevent the typical, unpleasant downshifting to achieve smooth acceleration and save fuel. Other options are also specified.
- Any vehicle with automatic gearbox; high-end cars and sportscars in particular, where driver involvement is a marketing plus.
- Driver involvement and control are enhanced;
- Driving perception/feedback;
- Passenger comfort;
- Fuel efficiency and active safety;
- An unprecedented driving mode with innovative interaction with the automatic gearbox is made possible.