While automatic transmissions seem to be the norm these days, Toyota bucks the trend by filing a patent for a different kind of manual gearbox. With this patent, it appears that the Japanese automaker is developing the second-generation intelligent manual transmission or iMT.
The current iMT performs rev matching when downshifting and also has an anti-stall function in first gear. In this patent, Toyota added more features and electronic control devices to the manual transmission. These include a shift lockout and automatic coasting.
In the patent, the said lockout prevents the driver from downshifting from high revs and thus, prevents damaging the transmission or the engine. The patent also stated that there is also a lockout for upshifting to prevent 'lugging' or under revving the engine at near-idle revs. This system is said to work via electronically controlled locking pins which then move to be clear the next gear.
Automatic coasting meanwhile disengages the clutch, practically putting it in neutral, to save fuel. The system activates when sensors detect that coasting is possible. While the patent did not go into detail as to how it works, it is likely that it will drop into neutral when the accelerator is released at cruising speeds, all while the transmission is slotted into a gear. It is also possible that there will be sensors to retain engine dragging (better known as engine braking) when taking on steeper downhill roads.
The patent did not state if the current functions of iMT will be retained for this different type of manual transmission.