06 Apr Audi launches first integrated toll tech in US
There isn’t a driver around who likes tolls. The hassle they cause with slowing down to pay and the tailbacks they cause as a result are the stuff of driving nightmares. Some toll roads have started to offer cars and automatic way of paying so that they don’t have to slow down, but often these are bulky and unsightly devices that have to be stuck on the dashboard.
But Audi has announced that it will be the first car manufacturer to launch integrated toll payment technology in its cars. The system will debut later this year and in today’s article we’ll look at the system and technology in more detail.
What does the system entail?
The new system from Audi could mean an end to bulky, horrible transponders sellotaped to windshields. Although there are only a few that are regularly used—California’s Fastrack and Florida’s SunPass for example—the huge toll passes that drivers are required to display are disgusting blots on otherwise beautiful machines. When Audi does integrate toll technology into the car itself, it won’t just be a step away from horrid transponders stuck to the front of the car, it will be a step towards more integrated tech that ends in fully autonomous cars. In short, it’s exciting times.
How does it work?
The system’s main feature is an Integrated Toll Module (ITM) that will be built into the Audi’s rear view mirror. It works in the same way that traditional transponders to and should connect with existing toll systems in the U.S, although Audi isn’t specific on the details.
But it won’t just be compatible with road tolls in the US, it should also work with Canada and Mexico. It’s not just a one-size-fits-all platform. Drivers will be able to hold multiple accounts in the car, so different drivers can log into their own account. Drivers will also be able to turn the system on and off at their leisure from the car’s in-built infotainment system if, for instance, they want to use a friend’s transponder or account.
Is this the first time Audi has integrated a system like this?
No, this is the second major V2I system that Audi has rolled out to cars in the last year. The previous system was a Traffic Light Information system that enables cars to receive real-time traffic signal information and therefore display a real-time countdown to when a traffic light will change. This will be improved in the future to allow for smarter route navigation.
Audi says that the ITM will be available in select vehicles later this year but we don’t yet know which Audis it will be included in. It may be that the ITM is included as an optional extra on higher-end Audi models. But those that do make use of the device will probably be happy to pay for it if it means an end to queues and ugly boxes spoiling the beauty of their vehicles.