Surely if we now asked you to guess in which century the world’s first gearbox was invented, your answer would not be exactly this: in the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci built something similar to a gearbox . The Florentine invented a gear change made up of two parts, one cylindrical and the other conical, which by means of a series of gears converted the mechanism into a gear change. Definitely a very nifty thing for the time he lived in .
However, the first automatic transmission as such was designed by the Frenchman Louis Bonneville at the beginning of the 20th century, specifically in 1903. He had to wait about thirty years to see how his invention began to be used by General Motors, who designed a quick change speed system and introduced it in several of its vehicles. Already in the 1940s, the company installed the first automatic transmission with four positions in its models; while other manufacturers – also American – began to use this type of change, being the first to give importance to the comfort of the driver at the wheel. From that moment, during the following decades, the use of the automatic transmission began to spread throughout several countries, although without undergoing too many technical variations.
Starting in the 80s, and especially during the 90s, significant changes began to take place. But it has been more in recent years when automatic gearboxes have evolved to a greater extent, ceasing to be only mechanical to give way to changes totally dominated by technology. These advances have allowed us to now have sequential gearboxes capable of making multiple changes without much effort, and at a higher speed. In addition, it is no longer only cars that offer this possibility, but other vehicles such as trucks and buses also enjoy this great tool.
What is clear is that this system has managed to facilitate the driver’s day-to-day life , making driving much more relaxed and enjoyable. However, despite the great growth that automobiles have shown during the last decade, their demand continues to be lower in our country than in many others, with high-end vehicles being the ones that have a greater presence. But this upward trend is expected to continue over the next few years, and who knows if we will end up seeing more automatic than manual cars on our roads.