Audi drivers in North America will soon be able to use a factory-installed RFID module to make in-vehicle toll payments across the country.
The integrated toll module (ITM) is to be included in “much of the 2021 Audi line-up”, the car maker says.
“Someday, RFID technology could be used in fast food or coffee shop lines to pay for items,” Audi adds. “It could be used to pay for ferry passes. As many consumers do today with their phones, an Audi could be used as a payment device, using this very same technology. It’s part of a larger ecosystem, whether the car is communicating with infrastructure or with other road users.
“When looked at as part of a larger ecosystem, it’s about more than a car. It’s about connecting to the future today and helping customers navigate life with ease.”
“Unlike some regions of the world, where there is a uniform tolling protocol or plate readers, the US toll road system is comprised of five major tolling hardware and software protocols, 90 tolling agencies, 12 interoperable groups and 20 tolling brands,” the vehicle maker explains.
“ITM is the only factory-integrated, multi-protocol tolling device that allows access to all US toll roads with one account, reducing complexity for drivers.”
“Often, transponders are stored in a glove compartment and then stuck in front of a windshield or on it while travelling in toll lanes,” the company adds. “That can lead to distracted driving or the signal being improperly read, which can lead to a fine.
“If a transponder is not set to an HOV [high occupancy vehicle] lane setting in certain situations, that could also spell trouble.
“Using ITM, the driver can turn the system on or off at will and switch to HOV settings through the MMI without any fumbling or needing to position a transponder across the top of a licence plate.”
Audi first integrated ITM technology into its e-tron SUV last year and the device “has since proliferated throughout much of the 2021 Audi lineup”.
“From the Audi A4 to the flagship Audi A8 and nearly all of our cars and SUVs in between, it was very important to design an interface that can allow integration in as many Audi models as possible,” says Audi engineer Christoph Steininger.