It will be called the Intelligent Manual Transmission, or iMT.
Although it will have a clutch, the vehicle will have only two pedals.
The shifter has an Intention Sensor that will activate the clutch as the driver moves it.
Hyundai’s clutch-less Intelligent Manual Transmission isn’t the first of its kind. Countless automakers have offered manual gearboxes over the years with some form of automation, be it through hydraulic, electro-hydraulic, pneumatic, or electromechanical actuation. Hyundai’s version will keep the actual shifter we all know and love but do away with a physical clutch pedal.
For most uninitiated manual transmission users, modulating the clutch pedal is what ruins the experience. This is especially relevant when driving in heavily congested areas. These same people might love to move the shifter through the gates though, and this is what Hyundai’s Intelligent Manual Transmission is all about.
The technology relies on the shifter with an “intention sensor” and a Transmission Control Unit (TCU). When the latter gets a signal from the sensor, it engages a hydraulic actuator that activates the clutch. Once the shifter is moved into the desired gear, the clutch seamlessly re-engages. It’s that simple.
The premise behind the iMT is brilliant where the best part of the manual-shifting driving experience is retained. Had something like this been introduced in North America earlier this century, it could have saved the manual transmission- or maybe not. As it stands, the 6-speed iMT will be introduced on the Hyundai Venue and mated to a turbocharged 1.0-litre 4-cylinder engine in India, among other such markets. And it’s extremely unlikely to ever come to our market.