Audi Launching Vehicle-integrated Toll Technology in North America

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Depending on where you live, toll roads might be a significant part of your driving life. There are a few ways to handle these moderate annoyances. You can carefully plot your course to avoid them, adding time to the journey and eventually trapping yourself in a situation where you’re scrambling to find enough change under your seat to appease I-95. However, a better solution would probably be to have some cash on hand, or maybe pick up one of those ugly boxes used for electronic toll collection.

E-ZPass, QuickPass, SunPas FasTrak, TxTag, and every other electronic collection measure require that you adhere a card or unsightly hunk of plastic to your vehicle’s windshield. While they don’t take up a lot of space, their placement can sometimes impede visibility and the cheap white plastic is bit of an eyesore — especially in a well-appointed interior.

Audi says it’s through with them and plans to launch an automated toll payment technology, integrated in the car’s rear-view mirror, for North American models. It might be one of the most mundane problems currently facing motorists, but somebody had to solve it.

Using hardware supplied by Gentex Corporation, Audi’s toll system allows drivers to manage tolling for multiple accounts via their infotainment system. That’s especially good news for drivers on the east coast who may have several electronic collection systems stuck to the windshield.

The automaker has said the module is compatible with 98 percent of the toll infrastructure within the United States, as well as some toll roads in Canada and Mexico. The system can also be turned on or off in-car or modified to set the vehicle up for tolling in high-occupancy lanes.

Audi isn’t ready to say which vehicles will get the technology first. But we’d expect it to be on most of the higher-end models later this year. A spokesperson from Audi says the intent is to eventually see integrated tolling appear as a feature on all models.

[Image: Audi]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • ClutchCarGo ClutchCarGo on Feb 23, 2018

    "However, a better solution would probably be to have some cash on hand, or maybe pick up one of those ugly boxes used for electronic toll collection." Better have plenty of cash here in Illinois where the the cash option is twice as expensive as the transponder. I always wonder about the people I see swinging off to the toll booth lanes. Not only are they having to stop to pay, they're getting burned on the price. Do they not have a credit card to fund the I-Pass, or are they paranoid about being tracked? Even out-of-staters can skip the booth and pay online later.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Feb 24, 2018

      Are they starting to get rid of the physical booths which are off to the side of the ORT readers? I love how everything in Illinois just MOVES, with few left-lane bandits or folks who are otherwise following some underposted numbers on a sign as if their lives depended on it! Actual LANE DISCIPLINE..who knew!

  • Spike_in_Brisbane Spike_in_Brisbane on Feb 23, 2018

    A. All toll booths have disappeared in Oz so it will eventually happen in the USA. B. There will be more toll roads because taxing fuel doesn’t reap revenue from electric cars. C. If the integration with the infotainment system includes a display of costs then I am in.

    • Cashmoney Cashmoney on Feb 23, 2018

      Not sure about B. At least not in US. E-cars will soon bear their fair share of road building costs.

  • 3-On-The-Tree Aja8888 I expected that issue with my F150 starting at 52,000mi. luckily I had an extended warranty and it saved me almost $8,000. No more Fords for me, only Toyota.
  • Lou_BC I saw a news article on this got a different read on it. Ford wants to increase production of HD trucks AND develop hybrid and EV variants of the SuperDuty. They aren't scaling back EV production. Just building more HD's and EV variants of HD's .
  • Lou_BC Backing up accidents are one of the most common causes of low speed accidents. You'd think sensors and cameras would help.
  • Jpolicke Jaguar started making cars that were dead ringers for Kia Optimas, but less reliable. They now look like everything and nothing; certainly nothing to aspire to.
  • ToolGuy I would answer, but the question might change again, and then where would we be? Also, bran... wheat bran? Bran Castle? The coliva served at Bran Castle is made with wheat, I checked. (Some places use rice, because collectivism does not work.)