Rise of the automatic and automated manual transmissions?

Rise of the automatic and automated manual transmissions?

With the growing popularity of automatic and AMT transmissions, and the focus on fuel efficiency, what will become of the tried and true manual transmissions?

“As the driver pool becomes less experienced, I think we’ll continue to see some transition to automation, but there will always be a good place for manual transmissions in the market,” said Ryan Trzybinski, development and product planning manager for Eaton. “The manual is still a very efficient component if driven correctly. It’s extremely reliable. It’s proven—millions have gone down the roads with unparalleled reliability. Anytime you add an AMT, you’re going to add some complexity to your truck, but you are also going to be adding to better overall vehicle performance.”

The other side of the equation is the younger, less experienced driver pool that doesn’t have the manual shifting experience.

“AMTs are seeing an increasing acceptance in the marketplace and in a growing number of applications,” said Charles Cook, Peterbilt product marketing segment manager. “This can be attributed to more people having experience with the transmissions and improvements in reliability, as well as enhancements to the technology responsible for communication between the engine and transmission which has led to more efficient, optimized shift points.”

Be sure to read our full feature on automatic and automated manual transmissions

Safety transmission

In addition to efficiency, one of the biggest selling points of automatic and AMT transmissions is the safety component. The driver can have two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road at all times—resulting in less distracted driving. AMT and automatic transmissions also allow the driver to pay attention to the road, rather than the RPMs and when to shift. Some transmissions, like the AMT offered by Eaton, institute a hill-hold feature that keeps the truck stationary when going from stopped on a hill into gear, eliminating rollback. In addition, drivers have reported being less fatigued when driving an automatic and/or AMT.

You May Also Like

Range Energy receives $23.5M in new financing for electric trailers

This recent funding follows the company’s $8M seed round from November 2022, bringing total funding to $31.5M.


Range Energy announced a $23.5 million new financing round led by Trousdale Ventures and with participation from UP.Partners, R7, and Yamaha Motor Ventures. Range says it will use the money to expand customer pilot programs for its electric-powered trailers, as well trailer production. Additionally, Range says it is also working to develop a new trailer data and telematics platform. 

MEMA responds to finalized EPA Phase 3 standards

MEMA and its members welcome the EPA’s final rule for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles.

The search is on: Returning initiative to reward military veteran driver with Kenworth T680

The competition is searching for America’s top rookie military veteran driver, who transitioned into trucking after military service.

Full Truck Alliance releases 2023 fiscal report

FTA says y/y net revenues and fulfilled orders were up considerably, while its net income more than quadrupled from 2022.

NACFE: natural gas sits in ‘messy middle’

The organization believes RNG to be a good fuel for fleets looking to decarbonize now, but expects some companies may hold out for BEVs.


Other Posts

Last Peterbilt Model 389 raises $1.5M for charity, so far

Peterbilt and Rush Truck Centers split $1.5M between two charities, the last Model 389 is now part of a sweepstakes which will benefit a third.

Volvo, Westport joint venture to reduce long haul CO2 emissions

The companies anticipate that the joint venture will become operational in Q2 of 2024.

EPA finalizes Phase 3, slows stringency before MY 2032

The new emissions standards are expected to improve public health and air quality, while giving companies enough lead time to meet the goals.

Kodiak and Martin Brower partner for autonomous delivery

Martin Brower and Kodiak are making 8 autonomous food deliveries per week to quick service restaurants between Dallas and Oklahoma City.