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4 benefits of automated manual transmission semi-trucks

The black automatic manual transmission gear shift, located on the right hand side of the truck steering column, is set to neutral.
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December 9, 2021

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Schneider began testing a variety of automated manual transmission (AMT) semi-trucks back in 2007 and started transitioning our fleet from manual to AMT tractors in 2015.

Now, we are proud to say that nearly 100% of Schneider semi-trucks are equipped with AMTs instead of manual transmissions.

But what’s the difference between AMT and manual transmission and what are the benefits of shifting gears to automated manual transmission semi-trucks?

What is automated manual transmission?

Automated manual transmission is a modified manual transmission that removes the need to engage a clutch pedal when shifting gears. Similar to a non-commercial automobile, AMT semi-trucks are operated using two pedals (the accelerator and brake).

So, what’s the difference between AMT and manual transmission?

Unlike a manual transmission truck that requires the driver to constantly engage the clutch to initiate gear changes, AMTs control gears using a combination of software and hydraulics. This allows the semi-truck to do the gear shifting for the driver.

Top 4 benefits of automated manual transmission semi-trucks

As you probably know, there is a long-standing truck driver debate between manual transmission semi-trucks and AMT trucks. We’re here to set the record straight by sharing some of the reasons many drivers prefer automated manual transmission semi-trucks to manual transmission trucks:

1. Heightened driver safety.

    One of the main issues with manual transmission semi-trucks is that they require a driver to multi-task while driving. Using one hand to shift gears can also cause drivers’ attention to shift away from the road ahead.

    Additionally, AMTs can also handle downshifts for extra Jake Brake power as needed. With extra Jake Brake power, AMT drivers are better able to keep their service brakes operating at the maximum stopping potential.

    Schneider’s number one priority is driver safety and increasing drivers’ braking abilities and focus on the road are great ways to keep everyone safe on the road. 

    2. Enhanced ease of operation.

      Gone are the days of worrying about missing or grinding gears. With automated manual transmission, your truck will do the work for you.

      AMT semi-trucks detect what gear they should be in and automatically shifts gears. This saves time by eliminating the need to manually change gears.

      3. Improved driver comfort.

        One of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve received from drivers regarding our transition to automated manual transmission trucks is that they are physically easier to drive than manual transmission semi-trucks.

        Most drivers who transition from manual to AMT experience relief in their back and knee because they no longer have to actively engage the clutch every time they change gears.

        Drivers also say that they prefer to drive AMT trucks because they offer a smoother or less jerky ride than a manual transmission vehicle. 

        4. Increased fuel efficiency.

          You may not realize it, but AMT semi-trucks not only improves the consistency of fuel economy but also improves overall fuel efficiency.

          This is because automated manual transmission semi-trucks rely on computers and electronics to change gears instead of the driver. This means that the truck ensures that the automated transmissions are always in the proper operating range for the engine.

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          About the author
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          Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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