A white plastic E-ZPass stuck on the windshield is a fixture of cars in the Northeast, where bridge, tunnel, and highway tolls abound and cashless toll collection is increasingly the only workable option. Toll-paying transponders also are an increasingly common sight in California, Florida, and elsewhere as toll roads proliferate. Upcoming Audi models could clear that bit of clutter from the windshield, with the introduction of an Integrated Toll Module (ITM) transponder located within the rearview mirror.
With the ITM, the Audi owner registers the vehicle online in a similar way to how transponder tags are currently registered, except there will be one online portal to sign up for access to all toll roads, Audi spokeswoman Amanda Koons said. Gentex, which supplies the ITM mirrors, will manage the online interface on the back end. Drivers can use Audi’s Multi Media Interface (MMI) system to toggle the toll-paying system on or off, and they can also select the number of passengers in the vehicle for HOV/HOT carpool lanes.
When it launches later this year, ITM will be compatible with all toll roads in the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. “Whereas now you have to have the SunPass in Florida and a FasTrak pass in L.A., you could do a cross-country road trip all without having multiple toll tags,” Koons said.
A unified electronic tolling system may seem like something that would already exist in the United States, and indeed a law passed in 2012 called for—although it did not require—such interoperability on federal highways by October 2016. So far, that hasn’t happened.
Audi hasn’t said in which model the ITM will launch, but the feature could be rolled out to most if not all future Audi vehicles, as Gentex supplies all of Audi’s automatic-dimming rearview mirrors.