This paper describes the process that redirected research effort from continuously variable transmissions (CVT's) to Smart Transmissions, the electronic control of a conventional manual gearbox. Initially work was carried out on theoretical and existing CVT's, and culminated in the proposal for a system that might solve some of the practical limitations. Following further simulation work comparing the CVT against an intelligently shifted 7 speed gearbox, it was concluded that the Smart Transmission could closely match the CVT for performance and fuel consumption. This meant original targets set by using a CVT could now be met without having to develop new transmission technology. At this point research effort was changed to developing this type of electronically controlled gearbox.