Recently Toyota showed a concept which seemed to have the best of both transmission worlds. An automatic with a H pattern manual gearchange as well.

Sadly, it’s just another manifestation of the Alfa Q System of the early 2000s which involved a perfectly conventional automatic fitted with a H pattern which allowed you change your automatic box manually. Just like Tiptronic and its imitators then.

That’s not good enough. What we want is a way of literally combining both. We want a clutch that you can control or not with a pedal and gears that can be engaged mechanically with linkages, or not. I’ve decided therefore to invent Gears on Demand™.

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Fortunately some of the ground work has been done. Some folks may know nothing about them but Scania emblazon their name across the front of a high proportion of the heavy trucks here. Those clever Swedes have come up with Clutch on Demand which allows you to use two or three pedals just as you like. Scania’s Opticruise automated manual box (it’s fitted to most of their trucks) has up to now been sold as two or three pedal versions. The three pedals uses a manual clutch but only for starting - gearchanges are entirely automated. Clutch on Demand carries this a little further and allows you to use the clutch or not as desired to start, but once you’re on the move it’s strictly two pedal motoring.

Gears on Demand™ takes this several stages further with both completely manual and mechanical operation and complete automation as the mood takes you.

We can do this in two ways. One is to literally duplicate everything with a torque converter combined with a clutch (we could modify the lock up clutch for the purpose) followed by both an automatic and a manual gearbox. As the mood takes you the manual box is put in a high gear and the automatic engaged, or vice versa. Best of both worlds at hideous cost, weight and bulk.

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Option 2, and the one I’m going for, is an automated manual which retains a mechanically operated clutch and gear linkage. Engage D and everything happens by itself. Alternatively, press the clutch - we’ve retained the cable so manual operation is always available - move the lever over to the manual side (with an exposed gate should the wont take us) and engage an appropriate gear. Naturally it’ll be up to the driver to select the correct gear because there won’t be any nanny overriding him or her. Completely manual you see.

So, all I need do now is patent it and count the royalties come in.