Shift Systems 101






Our lives are impacted by those 5 letters everyday from the time you jog out the door hoping coffee won’t stain your shirt till the sun is beginning to settle on the day and there is nothing but brake lights in your line of vision, but in your everyday life do you ever stop to wonder how the PRNDL technology works to allow you to drive?

We can go back to the basic concept of the relationship of a shifter and transmission into the manual form (engage clutch and shift) where you are doing the shifting, but what about automatic transmissions? What happens when there is no longer a clutch and you are no longer the one doing the shifting?

This is where we specialize. At GHSP we are a technology based tier one automotive supplier, which means that we directly supply vehicle shift systems and smart actuators to the OEM (original equipment manufacture; such as Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler,  etc.) in order to deliver worry free mechatronic solutions  that make your driving experience as seamless as possible.

So how does an automatic transmission shift system work?

The key is a torque converter because it is the communication that allows for connection to your engine into the transmission into the wheels.


You enter your car and put it into reverse to back out of the driveway, in that split second that you switched from park to reverse there is quite a bit happening that allows you to do so.

Following the simple diagram above, once the “gear selector” (or shifter as we like to call it) is put into park, reverse, drive, neutral, etc. then a cable is shifted that moves the planetary gear set in order for the torque converter to be engaged which opens the communication to the engine into the transmission, thus putting your vehicle into a gear and allowing you to begin your journey.

That is the base level understanding of how an automatic transmission works. At GHSP we manufacture the gear shifter itself, so the cable can be attached and you can drive.

Example of a GHSP designed and manufactured shifter

We believe in providing the discovery of solutions to deliver mechatronic products that integrate mechanical, electronics, software, and aesthetics to the OEM with the end user in mind.

In an automatic transmission shifter we encounter the elements of mechanical (the cable), electronics, and aesthetics (the design) but what about software?

That is where switch-by-wire (SBW) comes in, but that is a different technology to be explained.

Check back to find out the basics of SBW technology and how the automotive industry and GHSP are becoming more technology based than ever.

For an in-depth visualization/explanation, check out the video below:

For an in-depth article, check out this one.


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