UK-based technology company Torotrak claims that its latest transmission development, known as Total Off Road Control (TORC), has generated a 'very high interest' with the car companies who manufacture 4X4 vehicles.

Torotrak's CEO, Dick Elsy, said in a statement that one senior car industry executive who is responsible for the engineering of a well-known 4x4 vehicle said that he was interested in the IVT for this feature alone.

TORC enables the driver to set a predetermined speed on a dial in the car and set off across rough terrain. TORC will automatically maintain this speed up and down steep hills without the driver having to touch either the accelerator or the brake. Still using the dial, the driver also has the ability to slow the vehicle to a standstill and even reverse without changing gear.

Torotrak has developed Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT) toroidal transmission technology for automotive applications and claims that it offers a substantial efficiency gain over conventional stepped transmissions.

A number of evaluation licenses are out with transmissions companies and some vehicle makers.

Analysts note that rumours of firm interest in Torotrak's technology have caused the firm's share price to perk up in recent weeks.

Dick Elsy added: "We are pleased with the good progress made with the decision makers in the car industry, and continue to believe that the previously stated objective of having a firm commitment to include the IVT in at least one mainstream vehicle programme before the end of 2004 remains in reach."

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