There are two general types of transmissions used in automotive vehicles: manual transmission and automatic transmission. However, there are more specific types of automatic transmission, and some of them have the characteristics of a manual transmission.
The Different Types of Automatic Transmission
1. Traditional Automatic
A traditional automatic transmission or AT, also known as self-shifting transmission or n-speed transmission, is one of the major types of transmission that automatically changes gear ratios as the vehicle moves. The benefits of an AT center on giving drivers freedom from shifting gears manually. Other advantages include a smooth and precise engine control. Note that AT can be found in many non-MT vehicles.
2. Semi-Automatic Transmission
Also known as an automated-manual transmission or paddle-shift gearboxes, a semi-automatic transmission is a type of AT that it involves the driver making gear changes similar to a manual transmission. However, it does not have a clutch unlike an MT, and it makes use of electronic equipment such as sensors, actuators, and processors to simulate manual transmission and make gear change precise and smooth.
3. Dual-Clutch Transmission
A dual-clutch transmission system or DCT, also known as a twin-clutch transmission or a double-clutch transmission, does not have a torque converted and primarily involves the use of two separate clutches for odd and even gear sets, thus allowing a seamless shift to higher and lower gears. It also does not have a clutch pedal and instead, a computer operates both clutches. Hence, it offers the ease of an AT with the performance of an MT.
4. Continuously Variable Transmission
A continuously variable transmission or CVT is technically another type of automatic transmission. However, it does not use mechanical gears unlike an AT and instead, makes use of belts or pulleys to enable seamless gear shifting based on rations and depending on engine speed. Compact design and stepless acceleration are some of the advantages of a CVT while different engine feel and cost are some of its downsides.
5. Tiptronic Transmission
A Tiptronic transmission gives a driver an option to drive either in automatic mode or manual mode. Introduced by Porsche in the 90s and adopted by other manufacturers soon after, it has no clutch but, when used in manual mode, it allows direct upshift and downshift selection using paddled behind the steering wheel or by using the gear lever itself. When used in automatic mode, the computer does the gear shifting.