The New Rolls-Royce Uses GPS To See The Future And 'Pre-Change' Gears

Photo: Rolls-Royce

At the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, Rolls-Royce finally unveiled the brand new Wraith, a low-slung, sleek coupe built for speed as well as luxury.The most powerful Rolls ever, the Wraith is equipped with a V-12 engine, coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

And to make sure the car is always performing as well as possible, Rolls-Royce engineers created “Satellite Aided Transmission” (SAT).

Using GPS, the car figures out what upcoming stretches of road look like, and pre-shifts accordingly. Sudden, jarring downshifting is a thing of the past, and the drive through a sharp turn or a roundabout is smoother than ever before.

SAT is just the latest in a slew of remarkable advances in automatic transmission technology that likely are the death knell of manual shifting, at least in the United States (where only 3.9 per cent of cars sold in 2011 were manuals).

That’s a sad thing for old-school driving enthusiasts. But it’s good news for the future of cars, which are getting incredibly smart and ever more efficient.

With technology like this, it’s a short hop to a future where machines play chauffeur, and humans stick to being passengers.

Watch Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös review the Wraith’s various features, including SAT:

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