Those automatic toll transponders motorists rent to allow them a quick pass through toll booths may be a thing of the past, with Audi announcing that it will offer integrated toll payment technology into select vehicles in 2018.
The move is not unexpected, as automotive history shows that some technologies (such as Bluetooth and navigation systems) start as aftermarket add-ons before automakers realize their useful and sensible systems can and should be integrated into the vehicle at the manufacturing level.
Audi’s integrated toll module (ITM) is part of the company’s vehicle-to-infrastructure strategy (V2I), integrating a toll-collection transponder into the rearview mirrors of select models. The technology is reportedly compatible with toll-collectors in the US, as well as parts of Canada and Mexico.
The technology has to be configured to the user’s needs, handled through the vehicle’s Multimedia Interface (MMI), which can be programmed to handle multiple accounts, and can reportedly also be programmed to handle High-Occupancy lanes (some jurisdictions allow users to pay a toll to use the lane, when they don’t have the required number of vehicle occupants). The technology is reportedly compatible with existing tolling agencies and can be registered with existing regional accounts, start-up accounts and nationwide accounts.
Audi is the first automaker to offer the integrated technology, which was developed in partnership with Gentex, whose previous automotive involvement includes the manufacture of auto-dimming mirrors and camera-based driving aids. Gentex supplies Audi’s auto-dimming mirrors.