Supplier Spotlight

Show Reviews

Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2017 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2016 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2015 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo North America 2014 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo India 2014 Show Review

Click here to read


Latest Video

Engineering down under


Take a tour of the Australian Automotive Research Centre in Melbourne, which covers a 1,000ha area, and encompasses a raft of test roads and surfaces – including a 4.2km hot mixed surface road

Click here to watch the video

Creating the GM Electrovan


Floyd Wyczalek, project manager for the GM Electrovan, recalls his work on the world's first fuel cell vehicle in 1966, and takes a retrospective look at the development of fuel cell technology since.

Click here to watch the video

From a testing perspective, who stands to benefit most from PSA's acquisition of Opel?


« back to listing

What's new? Rolls Royce Wraith SAT

Former F1 engineer, Phil Harnett explains the development program for the Rolls-Royce Wraith's new satellite-aided transmission (SAT)


Manufacturers are employing new technology to blur the lines between automatic and manual transmissions. Rolls Royce believes that its latest creation, satellite-aided transmission (SAT), provides an automatic option that will also appeal to enthusiast drivers. It's fitted to the new Wraith, claimed to be the most powerful, dynamic Rolls Royce ever.

The concept for SAT originated within BMW. “One of my former colleagues at BMW F1 was working on it, he called me up and told me I had to see it. I knew it was absolutely perfect for the car,” explains Phil Harnett, product manager for the Wraith. “I moved to Rolls Royce in 2011, and I made sure that the technology made it across, so that the Wraith would be the first car to have it fitted.”

The technology behind the idea is relatively simple, and is akin to the preselector-type gearbox, or modern dual clutch affair. The only difference between it and these setups is the SAT’s automation of the selection via the onboard ECU.

Using a combination of the Wraith’s inbuilt navigation system, as well as an extensive catalogue of map data, SAT is able to preselect gears, not depending on the presently selected cog, but on the behavior of the driver and their location geographically.

“The beauty of the system is that it doesn’t require any more components,” explains Harnett. “The navigation sensors are already there, as are the other car’s features so there is no added weight when integrating this system.”

The gearbox at the heart of this all is ZF’s ubiquitous 8HP eight-speed transmission, which has been borrowed from the Ghost – along with most of the mechanicals underpinning the Wraith. Whilst the majority of the system’s components already have a proven track record, the Wraith was extensively tested at the Nürburgring.

“We didn’t use the Nürburgring because it’s a racetrack,” justifies Harnett. “We use it for endurance testing and the testing of component life. We can effectively do the lifecycle on the circuit; similarly the car was cold climate tested in Sweden, and warm weather tested over in Death Valley.

“Specifically for SAT, we tested a lot on normal roads too,” he continues. “The car has to know the normal information from streets, which essentially means, a lot of driving! It was quite fun actually, as we had to drive quite dynamically to get the effect of it.”

Whilst coming in to its own under enthusiastic driving, Harnett claims that the system is just as comfortable and suited to driving at a ‘sedate pace’, with the transmission seamlessly shifting ratios to give a ‘relaxed gear change’ to suit the drive.

Nor should GPS signal quality prove an issue to the system functioning reliably. “The GPS signals work on the fact that they look at your position, not all the time, but momentarily,” counters Harnett. “Once it knows what direction you are heading in, and its found you on the map it can just go, even if the satellites drop out.” 


Read Latest Issue
Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusives

Conti celebrates 50th anniversary of the Contidrom

The German tire giant looks back on 50 years of testing and development at its flagship facility
Click here to read more

Cruden launches new simulator technology

The system designed for ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing enables engineers to add as much hardware- or software-in-the-loop as they wish
Click here to read more

Q&A: Michael Guerrero, senior research engineer, Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center

Guerrero reveals details of a new component test methodology being developed at HATCHI
Click here to read more

Q&A: Dr Reza Bihamta, CAE expert, General Motors

Bihamta discusses the latest challenges in the simulation of joining techniques
Click here to read more

In-dummy data acquisition

Kistler’s digital transducer interface technology is enabling Continental Safety Engineering to yield data quicker and more accurately than ever before
Click here to read more

Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the automotive testing industry. Want to see your company included? Contact for more details.

فروشگاه اینترنتی فروشگاه اینترنتی سیستم همکاری در فروش ماهواره آنلاین اندروید کانال تلگرام چت روم دانلود فیلم فروشگظ;ه اینترنتی

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the automotive testing community? Good or bad, we'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to


Recruitment AdTo receive information on booking an advertising banner please email