Hyundai in India has announced the launch of a new “intelligent” manual gearbox, which does without a clutch pedal, for its small Venue crossover.

Mated with the firm’s turbocharged 1,0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, the new six-speed transmission offers “control through manual gear shifting” without the need to operate the clutch.

Described by Hyundai as a “revolutionary two-pedal system that eliminates the need for drivers to constantly use the clutch pedal”, the new gearbox is effectively an alternative to the automated manual transmissions offered in India (and thus on some budget cars here in South Africa).

The Korean firm says the new gearbox means the driver “retains the ability to slot gears manually, thereby delivering enhanced control and retaining the joy of driving”.

So, how does it work? Well, the system features an “intention sensor”, a hydraulic actuator and a transmission control unit.

The control unit receives a signal from the gear lever’s intention sensor, prompting it to send a signal to engage the hydraulic actuator. Hydraulic pressure is then sent to a concentric slave cylinder through a clutch tube. The concentric slave cylinder uses this pressure to control the clutch and pressure plate, thereby engaging and disengaging the clutch.

This, says Hyundai, ultimately allows the driver to “seamlessly shift gears without the need to mechanically operate clutch pedal”.

It’s not yet clear whether this new gearbox will be offered in markets outside of India. For the record, the Venue line-up in South Africa (which is imported from India) includes both a conventional manual gearbox and a dual-clutch transmission.