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Its special engineering design means that dDrive can operate not only as a continuously variable transmission, but as an infinitely variable one, for maximum efficiency according to operating conditions and operator preferences.
- a conventional gearbox because it has geared cogs to transfer motive power; but
- it is also a device without gears because these cogs remain engaged at all times and do not therefore use a clutch.
Geared cogs, which remain fully engaged at all times, generate motive power from the input source. Speed and power output can be controlled and varied as required and even ‘stabilised’ for constant output. The transmission can even change direction seamlessly – all without disengaging the power source.
For more indepth information please visit ‘The Technology’ Page.
Engineering work performed to date suggests that, in commercial applications following further development, dDrive can be expected to deliver improved fuel economy – and therefore reduced emissions from any carbon-based fuel source.
Also, through its innovative design, dDrive offers the prospect of high torque throughout the power curve – even at the critical low-revolutions end of the range.
Development Status and Commercialisation
dDrive currently exists as a demonstration model and has been successfully shown on television (where it was shown on the ABC New Inventors programme in April 2010 and was voted the winner of its segment by the judging panel). dDrive has also been shown to some of our round one investors. (For more information please see the ‘News’).
The commercial potential of dDriveIt has also been confirmed in a favourable assessment by a specialist engineering company. Once again refer to ‘The Technology’ Page.
We plan to build on this initial success through further engineering development with a view to subsequent commercialisation and believe the dDrive technology can be configured to a wide range of commercial applications.
Steve has spent over twenty years in research and development work on dDrive –from initial identification of the engineering problem it is designed to address, through concept, to design and development and refinement of the current demonstration model.
Steve recently demonstrated dDrive on the New Inventorsprogramme on the ABC. dDrive was assessed by an independent panel of judges and unanimously voted the best of the three inventions presented, and viewers voted that Steve and his invention be the leading candidate to win the award for the whole season.
Steve confesses to being a serial inventor, and shares his views and the challenges associated with being an inventor in this day and age. Visit his website: Steve Durnin to get the latest news!
Steve is a qualified plumber and plumbing inspector, with an insatiable passion for engineering issues. Steve first became addicted to investigating variable transmissions in the 1980′s.
More than twenty years later he conceived the dDrive breakthrough and subsequently developed a demonstration model and took out a PCT patent application.
All relevant intellectual property (including both present and future rights) was assigned to the company upon incorporation. The PCT patent application (PCT/AU2008/001442) is now proceeding to the national phase. The company raised round one investment to fund the associated costs.
We expect that ongoing development work will establish further patent opportunities for aspects of the dDrive technology. There is also involves substantial knowhow associated with dDrive.
Initial investment has been raised from a small group of locally based investors to cover patent application costs. Investment was in each case on the basis of a formal information summary with accompanying application form. Share certificates have been issued to investors.
We plan to keep investors informed in general terms through periodic narrative reports with details of key developments and further plans.
Further investment will be sought in due course for engineering and other work as required. We are also seeking grant funding support from Commercialisation Australia.
In the first instance we plan to investigate potential markets with a view to identifying a preferred target market and, preferably, two such markets. The next step envisaged is building at least two (and possibly more) commercial-scale prototypes representing application-specific enhancements of the current demonstration model. These will be used to comprehensively measure the efficiency of the transmission system and demonstrate dDrive’s commercial advantages over currently available variable transmission technologies.
Later on we will also seek to establish relationships with potential manufacturers with access to priority markets. Preliminary approaches are being made now with a view to identifying (and in due course) prioritising further potential market applications and assessing interest from possible future engineering partners.
We do not plan to manufacture products, but instead to license our technology to manufacturing partners with established operations and access to chosen markets and to work with them generally. Revenue will in this way be generated in the form of licensing royalties. Specialist technical consulting (leveraging design and development knowhow) may in due course provide a secondary revenue opportunity.
This strategy is considered likely to involve a lower level of commercial risk than any other approach and seeks to establish a simple business model with low capital intensity and naturally high margins. The longer-term aim is in this way to build revenue from multiple sources spread across a low cost base. It is envisaged that licensees will be appointed on a non-exclusive basis for each sector concerned (with some licensees having rights in relation to more than one market segment) in order to maximise scope for market take-up and minimise the risk of undue dependence on any one manufacturing partner.
Company Officers and Advisory Group
At present Steve Durnin is the sole director of the company as well as its major shareholder. He expects to appoint a suitably qualified board in due course as commercialisation plans proceed.
In the meantime the company has held discussions with various parties specifically on engineering matters with key advice in other areas from as follows:
- Jeremy Martineau of Calthorpe Corporate Consulting on corporate matters; and
- Patrick Silvey and Lavinia Proctor at VenturePro in relation to grant funding
With a conventional powertrain this is achieved with the aid of a gearbox and a clutch to apply varying combinations of torque, as well as speed, according to driving conditions and driver preferences.
Gearboxes are mechanical devices that deliver their power output according to fixed ratios that reflect the characteristics of the individual cogs engaged at any given moment.
Variable Transmission Technology
From an engineering point of view a variable transmission device is, conceptually, preferable to a conventional gearbox with its fixed gear ratios. This is because variable transmission allows varying combinations of speed and torque to suit conditions and driver/operator preferences.
Infinitely variable transmissions take this approach to its logical conclusion. dDrive is an infinitely variable transmission.
The benefits that variable transmission (and in particular an infinitely variable transmission like d-Drive) can be expected to deliver include the following:
The dDrive Difference
- Improved vehicle performance for any given quantity of fuel;
- Improved environmental performance through reduced emissions;
- Improved torque in the critical low-end revolutions range;
- Reduction in moving mechanical parts;
- Lower wear and maintenance; and
- Enhanced driving experience.
Variable transmission devices currently available are essentially belt-driven or toroidal systems that transmit motive power by applying pressure directly to smooth, non-geared, surfaces. They are based on processes originally patented in the late nineteenth century with subsequent improvements based on materials used and methods of construction. Belt slippage and heat loss are common engineering problems with these designs which struggle to deliver torque – especially at low revolutions when it is often most needed.
dDrive, in contrast, represents a complete new concept in transmission design. The key difference is that gearing ratios are altered by purely mechanical means with power being applied directly to individual gears according to conditions and driver/operator preferences. The use of gears (with teeth) makes dDrive much more efficient in mechanical terms than other systems and substantially mitigates the problems of low torque and heat loss. Infinitely variable transmission is achieved through the arrangement of the gears.
dDrive does not require a clutch. The engine can be started in powered neutral position, and gear ratios can be changed up and down, through the entire range, and even into reverse, all in one smooth motion and without disengaging the gears.
Potential commercial applications for dDrive are certainly not limited to its obvious use in automotive powertrain systems. dDrive in fact has potential for deployment in virtually any situation that requires variable speed – or even where a variable power input needs to be converted into a constant output speed.
Possible markets (all of them requiring variable speed transmission and all of them essentially global in nature) with significant commercial potential for dDrive include:
- Automotive – including, more specifically, cars, heavy and specialist vehicles (eg. mining and airport towing vehicles) and motorcycles as specific market segments and including the emerging electric vehicle market;
- Electric/hybrid vehicles specifically as a discrete segment of the overall automotive market where dDrive could be applied to a regenerative braking/battery charging function;
- Aerospace and Defence;
- Industrial conveyors;
- Outdoor power equipment;
- Clean technology infrastructure such as wind turbines; and
Our commercialisation strategy involves seeking potential engineering partners and opening discussion with them at an early stage both to assess their possible interest and contribution and to identify other possible commercial applications for dDrive.
dDrive has been the subject of independent mechanical testing by specialist test engineering company, e3k (a part of Gilmore Engineers Pty Ltd) which has confirmed the commercial potential of the product. You’re welcome to view the dDrive Transmission Report.
We have also received correspondence from Ferra Engineering (though they have not at this stage made any formal assessment or carried out any testing) confirming their view of dDrive’s commercial potential.