In-Car Tech

Stop using your E-Z Pass and buy an Audi instead

Audi has pioneered new toll collection technology specifically for the North American market.

Photo courtesy of Audi AG

Thanks to COVID-19 and the national coin shortage, the days of throwing a few coins in a toll booth collection bin may have finally passed us by. But don't think that the thruway and bridge authorities are going to stop trying to get into your wallet.

According to Audi, the U.S. toll road system is comprised of five major tolling hardware and software protocols, 90 tolling agencies, 12 interoperable groups, and 20 tolling brands.

Audi Integrated Toll Module technology The system can work with most every toll collection system in the county.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

More and more people are using electric toll collection (ETC) systems, which allow them to prepay for their tolls then use a toll tag within their vehicle to transmit to an overhead antenna at a toll station, which reads the toll tag and accesses the associated account for funds. In some states, such as Texas, instead of using a transmission device, the ETC system simply reads your vehicle's license plate then charges the person responsible for the registration of the vehicle.

Audi's new MIB 3 system is taking this a step further. The company's cars are now available with an Integrated Toll Module (ITM), which allows the car to serve as a transponder to various toll collection services rather than having a series of gaudy transponders attached to your vehicle.

The technology used vehicle-to-infrastructure technology. ITM was created by Gentex, a company that is a longtime supplier to the automotive and aerospace industries. They also make auto-dimming rearview mirrors, integrated HomeLink garage door openers, and dimmable windows for aircrafts.

Gentex first floated the idea at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Shortly thereafter, Audi went all-in, with help from partner Payvaim. The result is a new consumer-based tolling technology adapted from the commercial trucking industry that utilizes greatly downsized hardware for automotive applications.

The technology is integrated into the vehicle meaning unattractive toll tags are a thing of the past.Photo courtesy of Audi AG

There were several issues to consider in the creation of the technology. Windshields also collect heat from outside the car and multiply the temperatures within the mirror housing. Additionally, the components also had to adhere to U.S. Federal Communications Commission guidelines regarding radio frequencies and limits on interference.

ITM's primary purpose would be to serve North American customers. ITM is the only factory-integrated, multi-protocol tolling device that allows access to all U.S. toll roads with one account.

The first Audi with the technology was the E-Tron SUV. ITM is now available in most of the 2021 lineup.

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All-new sports sedans

All-new 2022 Audi A3 and S3 coming soon

The 2022 A3 gets sharper styling.

Audi

The Audi A3 and S3 might be small, but both cars bring benchmark performance and luxury to the compact side of the premium market. The cars have been totally overhauled for the 2022 model year, and pick up new powertrain tech, updated interiors, and sharper styling.

Audi says that the A3 is wider and more aggressively styled than its predecessor, and notes that it will carry a new, wider grille and headlight design. The S3 is now longer and wider than before, and will sport a larger, more aggressive exhaust system.


2022 Audi A3 The A3's interior gets new color options for 2022.Audi


The 2022 A3 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 201 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The powertrain also gets a 48-volt mild-hybrid boost for the first time in 2021, which will provide better take-off acceleration and can allow the car to coast with the engine off.

The S3 derives 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, which is a bump of 18 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque over its predecessor. Audi says that the new powertrain configuration allows the 2022 S3 to sprint from 0-60 mph in only 4.5 seconds. The S3 also benefits from a .6-inch drop in ride height and new available S sport suspension with damper control that can be adjusted with drive mode selections from the cockpit.


2022 Audi S3 The sporty S3 has also been redesigned for 2022.Audi


The A3's interior brings standard heated setas with eight-way power adjustment, a standard panoramic sunroof, tri-zone climate control, and leather upholstery. Two new color options are available for the 2021 A3, including Santos Brown with Steel Gray stitching and Parchment Beige with Steel Gray stitching. The S3 gets new power-adjustable S sport seats, and can be upgraded inside with diamond-stitched Nappa leather upholstery.

A 10.1-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard for both cars, along with a 10.25-inch digital gauge display. Audi's virtual cockpit system, which can project maps and other information into the gauge cluster, is available with a 12.3-inch gauge upgrade option. A head-up display is also available for the first time in both cars.


2022 Audi S3 The S3's interior has been updated with new seats.Audi


Audi includes a few advanced driver aids as standard equipment, which include forward collision warnings, high-beam assist, lane departure warnings, and a pre-collision system that shuts windows and pretensions seatbelts. Most features are optional, and include a parking assistance system, rear cross-traffic alerts, blind spot monitoring, and more.

The 2022 Audi A3 will have a starting price of $34,945, which includes a $1,045 destination charge. The A3 Quattro will start at $36,945 and the 2021 S3 will have a starting price of $45,945.

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The 2022 Acura TLX has the technology enabled.

Photo courtesy of Acura

Toyota and Lexus announced that the WarnerMedia RIDE app would be coming to their models earlier this year. Now, Honda and Acura will be offering the same.

On certain Wi-Fi enabled Honda and Acura vehicles, AT&T unlimited in-car Wi-Fi users will have access to the WarnerMedia RIDE app. The app allows users to connect multiple devices in their vehicles to browse, stream and share premium content from the WarnerMedia library while on the road.

Honda and Acura vehicle owners have been able to use their on-board modem as a hot spot for connecting up to seven devices since 2017. Models compatible for the new tech include the Acura RDX (2019-present), Acura TLX (2021), and Acura MDX (2022) across all trim levels. Honda vehicles with the tech include Accord (2018-present, Touring), Odyssey (2018-present; Touring, Elite), Insight (2019-present, Touring)., Passport (2019-present; Touring, Elite)., and Pilot (2019-present; Touring, Elite, Black Edition).

The WarnerMedia RIDE App allows passengers to access 1,000+ hours of live and on-demand entertainment. The app includes hit TV shows and movies from top brands such as Cartoon Network, CNN, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and TruTV, spanning animation, entertainment, news, sports and more.

WarnerMedia RIDE app The WarnerMedia RIDE app allows users to choose their own avatar.Photo courtesy of Acura

Users can set up profiles and personalize their user exerpience with an avatar from the WarnerMedia library. Profiles also ensure age-appropriate content with options for adults to restrict access to their profiles with an access code.

"Wireless connectivity and connected car services continue to be key features for customers and our long-standing relationship with AT&T continues to be one way we deliver exciting new content to Honda and Acura owners," said Art St. Cyr, vice president of North American Auto Strategy for American Honda. "Honda will continue working to enhance the in-car experience, including the capabilities of the AT&T network and access to top content with WarnerMedia RIDE."

"We're always looking for new and innovative ways to elevate the connected car experience for our customers. With WarnerMedia RIDE, we are delivering a connected experience that's perfect for journeys," said Joe Mosele, vice president, Mobility & Internet of Things, AT&T. "Our collaboration is keeping Honda and Acura owners connected wherever they travel with hours of news and entertainment for the whole family."

WarnerMedia RIDE is available now in the App Store and on Google Play for all U.S. unlimited data plan subscribers. WarnerMedia RIDE is included at no additional cost for existing and new unlimited subscribers.

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