What is an AMT?

Transmissions 06/14/2017

There are three types of transmissions used in the heavy-duty trucking segment: manual, automatic and automated manual. While it’s pretty easy to understand how a true manual transmission works, there’s often confusion about how automated manual transmissions (or AMTs for short) function versus automatic transmissions, and what unique benefits an AMT provides.

It’s important to understand that AMTs, such as the Detroit™ DT12™, are not automatic. While they are a two-pedal operation (using only an accelerator and a brake pedal, along with a shift stalk to select drive, neutral, or reverse) and offer a very similar driving experience to automatic transmissions, AMTs basically function internally the same as manuals. AMTs are generally lighter than automatics, which means you can maximize your payload by having less total vehicle weight.

In reality, AMTs are manual transmissions. The most noticeable difference is that, rather than using a manual clutch pedal and gear stick shifter on the floor of the truck, a computer communicates with the transmission and engine to determine the optimal time to shift gears. So internally, an AMT is mostly the same as a manual. The mechanisms are exactly the same. In fact, you can even feel the slight pause during a gear shift that you would feel operating a traditional manual transmission.

But even though they are foundationally similar, AMTs have many benefits compared to true manuals in terms of safety, driver fatigue, maintenance and fuel economy. When driving AMTs, drivers are able to be safer by maintaining their undivided focus on the road and lessen the fatigue that comes with continual manual clutch/gear stick shifting situations. Additionally, since AMTs combine a traditional clutch-actuated manual gearbox with a computer-controlled shift actuator and clutch, they are always ‘on the job’ and operating with precision; this means the transmission will help monitor for clutch abuse and negate gear grinding. This use of AMT technology also greatly impacts fuel economy. AMTs know exactly the right time to shift, taking grade, load weight and other factors into account, helping to maximize fuel economy. Due to these factors, AMTs are more often the preferred transmissions for on-highway applications. 

Learn more about our AMT, the Detroit DT12, available in all Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 5700 models.

Detroit Connect Portal

The Detroit™ Connect portal is easy-to-use, one-stop-shop for all vehicle performance data gathered, transmitted and analyzed by Detroit Connect.  The portal gives you access to insights delivered by  Detroit Connect Virtual Technician℠. The Detroit Connect portal will also give you access to new features, such as Remote Updates, and Analytics, available late 2017.

Detroit connect portal login


All DDCSN content has been migrated to our DTNAConnect web portal. All information previously on the DDCSN is now on DTNAConnect. We have created a quick reference guide to help you locate the migrated content on DTNAConnect. Existing DDCSN login credentials will also work with DTNAConnect. Please work with your security administrators for login or content issues. If you do encounter any technical issues, please contact the Software Support Center at 855-639-8680 or dealer.helpdesk@daimler.com


DTNA Connect Portal

DTNA Connect is the starting point for working with all brands and franchises that fall under the Daimler Truck North America umbrella: Detroit, Thomas Built Buses, SelecTrucks, Sterling, Freightliner, and Western Star. Here, you can access the full spectrum of online applications, resources and tools you need. Whether you use DTNA online resources to complete repairs, purchase parts, submit warranty claims, spec new vehicles or track the status of your truck orders, DTNAConnect streamlines the tasks and activities that are part of your daily work routine.

DTNA Connect Portal Login