Audi Drives Connected Car Features

by Raymond Pucci 0

Faster Payments

Car road toll transponders have become a must-have gizmo to stick on your windshield. These devices provide a line busting service at toll booths plus a seamless payment. As the following article describes, Audi has introduced a toll payment system that is integrated within the rearview mirror.

Aside from all the announcements about autonomous driving tests and driverless ridesharing services coming down the road, some automakers are moving one small step at a time toward connecting cars for practical reasons for drivers.

Audi is a good example. The automaker just introduced a vehicle-integrated toll payment system on some models so that car owners don’t have to stick an additional device onto their windshields to pay for road tolls.

The Integrated Toll Module (ITM) is a toll transponder built into the vehicle’s rearview mirror. The technology is compatible with existing tolling agencies nationwide, which can be linked with a driver’s new or current account, according to Audi.

Audi has been working on another down-to-earth innovation, connecting some of its cars with traffic lights. Audi created a feature called Traffic Light Information so that its cars can communicate with the traffic infrastructure in certain cities and metropolitan areas, which started testing in Las Vegas some time ago, detailed in a video from Audi.

When a car comes near a traffic light, a dashboard display shows the time remaining until the traffic light turns green. The idea is that eventually traffic light systems and cars will be interconnected so that lights will be more reflective of traffic on any given road.

Audi is not alone in the traffic light department, as General Motors has been testing receiving real-time information from specially equipped traffic lights in Michigan. While companies like Waymo, Apple, Uber and others go the longer ball of self-driving cars, some automakers are plodding along, introducing one practical connected feature after another.

The connected car is in its early stages, and certainly payments will be playing a key role in the types of offerings that providers will make available to the driving public. Several apps, such as GasBuddy, are now available for gas station location finders and mobile payments. Meanwhile General Motors recently introduced Marketplace, a service that works within the car infotainment system, enabling drivers to pay for gas plus coffee at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Watch for others to follow before too long.

Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group

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