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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Volkswagen Arteon has been refreshed for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Americans aren't as in love with the Arteon as Europeans, but that won't stop Volkswagen from offering if for sale here, yet. The automaker, who has sold just over 2,600 Arteons this year, is pricing the 2021 edition to start at $36,995.

Only available as a sedan in the States, the Arteon will be sold in three trim levels: SE, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line. Each comes with an additional $1,195 destination and delivery charge.

The Arteon gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Its engine is paired with an eight speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available in the SEL R-Line and up grades.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon The Arteon has been reborn inside for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Among the changes to the refreshed Arteon for the 2021 model year are its wide and wide hood, available illuminated front light bar, and fresh paint color options: Kings Red Metallic, Oryx White Pearl, and Lapiz Blue Metallic.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon SE (MSRP: $36,995)

The Arteon SE comes standard with front-wheel drive, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights. It features keyless entry and has rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped touch multifunction steering wheel, chrome window switches, and stainless steel door sills and pedal caps.

Twelve-way power-adjustable heated front seats, leatherette seating throughout the cabin, automatic trio-zone climate control, Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, navigation, wireless App-Connect, Bluetooth, two USB-C ports, a Wi-Fi hot spot, SiriusXM with 360L, and a rearview camera are also standard.

Each Arteon also comes with blind spot monitoring, forward collision assist, and rear traffic alert.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon SEL R-Line (MSRP: $41,595)

The Arteon SEL R-Line is avialable in front- and all-wheel drive. It builds on the SE grade, offering 19-inch wheels, an illuminated front grille bar, adaptive front lighting, panoramic sunroof, power-folding side mirrors, remote start, wireless charging, driver's seat and side mirror memory, translucent decor with ambient lighting, and leather seats.

The R-Line design accents include a front bumper with C-signature and rear lid spoiler in gloss black, black headliner, paddle shifters, contrast stitching on steering wheel and shift knob, and R-Line badging.

This model gets more standard drive assistance features including adaptive cruise control with stop and go, Lane Assist, Travel Assist, Emergency Assist, road sign display, rear park distance control, and Light Assist.

2021 Volkswagen Arteon SEL Premium R-Line (MSRP: $46,995)

2021 Volkswagen Arteon

Volkswagen has enhanced the Arteon for the 2021 model year with a thorough refresh.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The range-topping Arteon SEL Premium R-Line comes standard with all-wheel drive. It rides on 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and has a Harman/Kardon auto system, heated steering wheel with paddle shifters, massaging driver's seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, rear seat climate controls, an additional USB-C port, and power trunk. The model adds Park Assist and Area View.

The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon will be available in three trim levels and is expected to begin arriving at Volkswagen dealers in Q4 2020.

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The inter of the model features unique design with space age influence.

Photo courtesy of Aznom Automotive

The Aznom Palladium is all about extremes. It's set to be the world's first hyper limousine when it debuts later this month during the Milano-Monza Open Air Motor Show. In the lead up to its debut, Aznom Automotive has released a few teaser images of the exterior and interior of the vehicle.

Palladium's designers have described the car as a "hyper-limousine" that unites the traditional characteristics of a luxury sedan with dynamic drive qualities. Aznom lists the desirable sedan features as comfort, materials and manufacturing quality, ample space, and reliability. They also describe the Palladian as "powerful, strong and unstoppable like a true all-wheel drive off-road vehicle".

The seats in the Palladium are designed to recline.Photo courtesy of Aznom Automotive

The model was designed by Alessandro Camorali and his Camal Studio, which is based in Torino, Italy. He took inspiration from classic Greek and Roman style.

The Monza, Italy-based company is looking to create a vehicle that can be used by heads of state that employs the opulence of luxury automobiles from the 1930s. The vehicles Aznom admires had voluminous dimensions and all-terrain capability.

Azonm says that Palladium is "without a doubt a surprising vehicle and, in the manufacturer's intentions, is set up to fill an interesting and exclusive niche."

Its interior is filled with opulence - a reclining seat, refrigerated components, and hidden drawers fill the inside in the rendering shared by the company. The design is both futuristic and statuesque with brutish lines and space age-looking design.

Customers will be able to customize their model to include the materials of their choosing.

Stay tuned to learn more about the unique model.

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