As a manufacturer of automatic transmissions, AISIN AW is working actively to develop and adopt fuel-efficient technologies by enhancing its line of automatic transmission and CVT products.
We mass-produce 6-speed automatic transmissions featuring improvements in both acceleration performance and fuel efficiency for FWD and RWD vehicles. These products are delivered to a total of 44 customers (as of March 2015) including manufacturers such as Toyota and Volkswagen, where they contribute to improved vehicle fuel economy. To ensure our automatic transmissions deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency and satisfy the increasingly stringent standards set forth by various countries' fuel efficiency regulations, we are working to dramatically improve vehicle fuel economy by incorporating features such as reduced torque loss, an expanded lock-up region, and start/stop capability. Having begun mass-production of the world's first FWD 8-speed automatic transmission in 2012 and of a new FWD 6-speed automatic transmission in 2013, we are helping manufacturers such as Toyota as well as overseas customers such as Volvo and BMW deliver improved acceleration performance and fuel efficiency in a manner that befits their premium products.
Against a backdrop of growth in the highly developed functionality and performance offered by automobiles, Aisin AW is developing advanced technology for use in automatic transmission ECUs (controllers).
These efforts are contributing to improved fuel efficiency not only through the development of new control technologies such as expanded gearing (8-speed models, etc.), but also through initiatives conceived to promote smaller and more lightweight ECU designs, reduce raw material use, share product design processes, and reduce and simplify the tools and hardware used in production processes.
ECU with an integrated neutral start switch (N.S.SW.) incorporates a neutral start switch, one of the mechanical components of an automatic transmission, into the automatic transmission ECU. The design is contributing to improved fuel efficiency not only by reducing raw material use but also through reduced vehicle harness length and weight.
Helping improve fuel efficiency by avoiding inefficient and congested routes
By guiding drivers to their destinations via optimal routes, voice navigation helps improve overall fuel economy. In this way, it allows drivers to avoid wasteful fuel consumption due to use of inefficient routes while disoriented or lost. Additionally, incorporation of functionality supporting the Vehicle Information and Communication System (VICS) improves fuel efficiency by helping drivers avoid congested areas.
If the distance to the destination can be shortened, the amount of fuel used can be reduced. Roads change on a daily basis, and while it would be ideal if drivers could immediately make use of new, shorter routes, updates of car navigation maps in the past have been limited to the publication of twice-yearly updated edition information. To address this issue, Aisin AW developed new functionality for automatically distributing differential map updates covering changes to major roads and roads near drivers' residences and destinations to car navigation systems via mobile phones and other means. The service began operation in March 2007. The new function has enabled expressways and toll roads to be used in route guidance as soon as seven days after opening, and for use of other roads to begin sooner than is possible with conventional updates. Using route guidance for a trip from Aisin AW's Head Office Okazaki Plant to Gotemba Premium Outlets as an example, map data for the Shin-Tomei Expressway that was distributed within seven days of the new expressway's opening made it possible to shorten the route by 6 kilometers, from 213 to 207 kilometers. (Updated data includes new expressway tolls.)
When choosing new components in the development of voice navigation computers, Aisin AW strives to choose parts with a low environmental impact. We are also working actively to replace existing parts that contain certain targeted substances with alternative parts that do not contain environmentally harmful substances.
We completed our transition away from hexavalent chrome at the end of 2006. In the drive to transition to lead-free solder, we began mass-production of certain new products in spring 2004 after evaluating and studying how we could best transition to solder that would provide an adequate level of reliability in the demanding onboard environment in which our products must function. Electronic control boards used in all new products have used lead-free solder since spring 2005. We have also worked to transition to lead-free electroplating for pins and terminals, and we gained the ability to do so in 2006. We began supplying new products manufactured using these techniques in 2007.
We are also working to assess, study, and commercialize products designed with lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content.
Aisin AW's contribution to society originates in the development of forward-looking, environmentally responsible automobiles. Our drive systems for EV and hybrid vehicles help reduce exhaust gases and improve fuel economy.
We have been developing compact, highly efficient drive systems for EVs and hybrid vehicles by combining our experience and know-how as a specialized maker of automatic transmissions with state-of-the-art motor technology. Our EV drive system program began with the development of a four-wheel electric car in 1986 and continued as Toyota selected our EV drive system for the Crown Majesta EV in1993. In 1998, we produced an EV system for Toyota's "e-com," an ultra-compact EV. The system was also used as the drive system for a super-compact EV (Coms) sold by Toyota Auto Body from 2000 to 2011.
For hybrid vehicle drive systems, which have been attracting increased attention recently, we are producing two 2-motor hybrid systems for FF vehicles and three for FR vehicles.
Typical of regulations governing environmentally harmful substances that are being enacted in Japan and around the world is the European Union's End-of-Life Vehicle directive (ELV), which regulates substances (lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium) that have a harmful effect on the environment when vehicles are disposed.
In light of this regulatory environment, Aisin AW is pursuing initiatives to complete the transition to alternative substances as soon as possible by creating an internal "Subcommittee to Reduce Environmentally Harmful Substances in Products" and working in partnership with customers advancing global efforts to reduce environmentally harmful substances in our products (automatic transmissions, ECUs, satellite navigation systems, etc.).
We are also working on a voluntary basis to establish alternative technologies for products that are currently unregulated.