Editor's note: Audi said the Gentex toll payment technology will not be compatible with Mexico's toll roads. The automaker corrected information from an earlier press release.
Audi is giving its upcoming e-tron electric crossover an extra blanket of convenience with a toll payment technology that will be compatible with certain toll roads in the U.S. and Canada.
The crossover, expected to compete with Tesla, is scheduled to be unveiled Sept. 17 and is expected to arrive in showrooms during the first part of next year.
In June, the automaker scrapped an event where it was scheduled to reveal the all-electric vehicle, following the arrest of CEO Rupert Stadler that created new turmoil at the company.
Developed by Gentex Corp., the module is essentially a toll transponder built into the rearview mirror, the company said in a statement Monday.
Audi is the first automaker to adapt the toll-payment technology, Craig Piersma, director of marketing at Gentex, told Automotive News.
“We worked with a company called TransCore and we actually went and got agreements from all the different tolling authorities to be able to create one universal module that sort of emulates the protocols from all of these different tolling authorities,” Piersma said.
Nashville-based TransCore builds tolling infrastructures for tolling authorities throughout the U.S.
The rearview mirror was an “ideal location” to integrate the module because it captures of a good view of a tolling gantry, he said. The development process took roughly three years to complete.
The mirror-based system removes "windscreen clutter" and the need to juggle different toll accounts, Audi said.
Through Audi's MMI touch-screen navigation system, drivers can turn the module on and off and adjust the occupant settings for high-occupancy vehicle and high-occupancy toll lanes, the automaker said.
The system is designed for use by any automaker, Piersma said, and the supplier hopes to be able to announce a couple of additional automakers around the CES technology expo time frame next year.
At some point, the supplier also plans to have an aftermarket version of a mirror that would contain the toll module, he said.
“It is our hope that [Audi] will expand it to other Audi vehicles in their lineup and it is Gentex's hope that certainly other automakers will soon offer the technology as well," Piersma said.
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