Transmission technology developer Antonov said that Powertrain Ltd, the one time Rover operation that is now an independent UK engine and transmission manufacturer, has taken out an exclusive licence to produce its new six speed electronic automatic transmission and a new dual clutch transmission.

Since signing a wide-ranging "Heads of Agreement" in February 2004, the two companies have worked together to develop the Antonov technology from the prototype stage towards production readiness.

A running demonstrator of the fifth generation six speed planetary transmission has been fitted to a Rover Streetwise model. Over the next few months it will be tested by car makers and will be ready for production in 2006.

The two companies will also complete design and development work on new dual clutch six and seven speed transmission systems and a running demonstrator will be available for vehicle manufacturer appraisal within six months.

Antonov chairman Rouben Antonov said: "Our relationship with Powertrain has developed well over the past six months and their decision to take out an exclusive licence is a great testimony to our new technologies and their confidence in their benefits"

Powertrain managing director Fraser Welford-Winton added: "We have been very impressed with the technical and consumer benefits of the Antonov technologies. Working together with Antonov I believe we can bring to market products with a real competitive advantage and can win new customers over the next five years."