Tolls are one of the most oddly old-fashioned parts of driving that still exist. In this day and age of technology and connectivity, many tolls roads still require you to stop your moving vehicle, roll down the window and throw coins into a plastic bucket. You can order stuff through Amazon’s Alexa in some cars but have to stop and pay a toll by hand still. It’s madness. Until now, that is, as Aud has come up with a new technology that allows you to pay tolls with your car.
Admittedly, most countries and states have some sort of quick-pay toll system. Here on the East Coast, United States, we have EZ-Pass, which is a little device that sticks to the inside of your car’s windshield, so you can drive through EZ-Pass toll booths at speed and the booth scans the device and the toll is paid, all without stopping. Nice and easy, right? Well, it can become a hassle because the little device needs to be with your car at all times. If you remove it to put it in another can and forget to put it back, it becomes problematic.
As a journalist, this is aggravating, as I have to constantly switch my EZ-Pass device from my personal car to my press car and back and forth. I often forget it, leaving me without it to pay tolls. This new system from Audi turns you car into one of those devices and is far easier to use than having another device.
It’s called ITM (Integrated Toll Module) and it’s essentially a toll-payment device built into the rear view mirror. It’s part of Audi’s push for more Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) technology, like its traffic light system where Audis can communicate with traffic lights to tell drivers when they’re going to change.
This mirror-based ITM will be available this year in North America (US, Canada, Mexico) and it is available with all toll accounts in NA. It can also handle multiple accounts, as they are programmed into the MMI system, where you can manage your accounts, add new ones or switch to another driver’s. So if someone borrows your car, they can add their own toll account to the car so they can use theirs, rather than yours.
Audi doesn’t specify which cars will be available with this system, or if all of them will be, but its photo is of the new Audi A8, so we’re expecting it to debut on that. ITM not only makes toll driving easier and more simplified, it removes the ugly windshield-mounted device that ruins the aesthetic of a premium car’s interior. Personally, I’d love this system and I hope it becomes the norm in the auto industry.