New Audi Tech Can Talk to Toll Booths
Audi has become the first automaker to launch a new vehicle-integrated toll payment technology, which will be available on a few of its vehicles this year.
The integrated toll module (ITM) is built into the rearview mirror and was developed by Gentex Corporation, which provides the automaker with its auto-dimming mirrors. Drivers will be able to adjust the settings for the ITM via the infotainment system; settings include turning the feature on or off and changing the number of occupants for HOV/HOT lanes.
Audi says the module is compatible with all United States toll roads as well as those in parts of Canada and Mexico, though we must question the usefulness. According to the automaker, it helps eliminate windshield clutter — not an issue we’ve ever known anyone to have — and the need to manage multiple toll accounts, which might be convenient on long road trips.
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Still, it’s another implementation of “vehicle-to-infrastructure” (V2I) technology, which may become increasingly prevalent and important as autonomous vehicles begin to piece in the automotive market. Specifically, the tools developed to make ITM work could have different applications in the future, as the ability to read a car’s location and make digital payments could open a whole new world of commercialization possibilities for manufacturers.
Whether this is a good thing for drivers is up for debate. As long as V2I technology helps improve convenience, we’re all for it. As soon as it becomes used by companies to push products in the hopes of raising their bottom line, however…
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