BMW presents its automatic clutch, with controlled gearbox.

Although a good part of the motorcycle world is riding the wave of widespread use of the Shifter, ideas for improving gear shifting continue to swirl in the brains of engineers. And the battle is on! Barely a few months after Honda revealed its E-Clutch system, BMW in turn unveils a clutch system assisted by an electro-mechanical system: the Automated Shift Assistant (ASA).

Except that BMW goes further than the Japanese brand. Among the Teutons, there is absolutely no no more clutch lever ; while Honda maintains it to offer the possibility of using its left hand from time to time. In addition, and above all, the system also makes it possible to have a Automatic box, where the on-board electronics can change gears on their own without driver intervention. Let’s dive into BMW technology to find out:

The Automated Shift Assistant system is characterized by an ingenious design: two electromechanical actuators automate the clutch and gear change of the six-speed transmission. There is no need to use a lever to manually operate the clutch. Starting, stopping and maneuvering are made easier by the automated shift assistant.

Driving with the ASA system also becomes more enjoyable thanks to quick shift sequences, adapted to rev and load, and the resulting precise gear changes. The demand on the driver is reduced, which makes driving even more pleasant.

– In “M” mode, gear changes can still be made by foot, allowing the rider to decide when to change gear.

– In “D” mode, the Automated Shift Assistant comes into its own. The different gear changes are automatically selected by the engine control unit. Whether in “M” or “D” mode, the rider benefits from perfectly executed gear changes with a smooth interruption of propulsion. This results in efficient acceleration of the motorcycle and increased riding stability.

When shifting up a gear, for example, the “shudder” associated with a conventional manual transmission with a hand clutch lever is largely neutralized, as is the risk of contact between the rider and passenger helmets.

Downshifts are also designed to be as smooth as possible, to minimize disruption to the chassis. The specific characteristics of the automated gear change function are assigned to the different riding modes to guarantee perfect behavior in each situation. In combination with Active Cruise Control (ACC Active Cruise Control) or Front Collision Warning (FCW), these three BMW Motorrad technologies also breathe new life into the future of motorcycle safety.

Automated clutch and gear change for a new riding experience.

Thanks to clutch automation, the boxer engine can start almost effortlessly on climbs, for example, which also results in better control of the motorcycle when off-road or on more uneven surfaces.

Driving pleasure takes on a whole new meaning when you choose automated mode “D”. The correct gear is automatically selected based on the rider’s individual needs. The result is a more flexible and balanced driving experience.

Okay, how does it work?!?

BMW Automated Shift Assistant (ASA) automated clutch system with robotic gearbox function

Two electronically controlled electromechanical actuators operate the clutch and gear selector, providing easy starting and automated gear changes. The rider’s gear change request is transmitted to the control unit via a sensor, which is actuated by the conventional foot-operated gear selector. Other sensors determine transmission input shaft rpm and clutch position. These values ​​are transmitted to the Transmission Control Unit (TCU), which is closely linked to the engine control unit, for modeling and control of the clutch, actuation and of the gear shift status.

The clutch is controlled by an electromechanical actuator combined with a hydraulic system with a direct connection between the master cylinders and the clutch slave. This actuator regulates the necessary slip of the clutch, engages the clutch when changing gears and disengages it when stopping.

In manual “M” mode, the rider can operate the gear selector in the usual way. If the rpm of the desired target gear is within the optimal rpm range, the gear shift is carried out directly. If the engine speed falls below a minimum speed, determined according to the gear engaged, downshifts are carried out automatically, even in manual mode. This helps prevent the engine from stalling.

In “D” mode, gears are changed automatically depending on the selected riding mode, engine speed, throttle grip position and lean angle. The gears are shifted according to the driving situation and the resulting dynamic demands.

The benefits of BMW Motorrad’s Automated Shift Assistant at a glance:

– The driver no longer needs to operate the clutch lever.
– Dynamic and comfortable gear changes for greater pleasure on the handlebars.
– Choice of manual or automatic gear change.
– Automatically adapts gear changes to the rider’s dynamic preferences in automated mode D.
– Eliminates the risk of engine stalling due to untimely gear changes.

Info and image credits: BMW

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