Audi AG has begun testing of the “Audi connect wireless payment” system which will permit vehicles to automatically make payments to parking facilities. The technology is a logical next step, coming on the heels of the automaker’s self-parking system which was unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Audi says that new wireless RFID payment system won’t be exclusively for self-parking vehicles, but will be available to all motorists.
Once a vehicle’s windshield-mounted RFID transmitter is activated, through an online registration process, the system will keep tabs on parking times, send out monthly bills, and automatically debit the parking fees from user’s bank account; allow drivers to skip the ticketing and payment processes entirely.
The system is currently being tested in Audi’s home town of Ingolstadt, Germany in cooperation with the Ingolstadt Economic Development Agency. The test will reportedly involve up to 13,000 vehicles, and nine public parking facilities located throughout the city.
In many crowded urban areas, simply finding an available parking space is a far more challenging task than actually parking and paying. That’s why Audi is offering a new app to help make the process less time-consuming and frustrating.
The automaker is working with Santa Monica-based ParkMe Inc., which operates parking facilities in 1,800 cities in 19 countries, to make it easier for Audi owners to find parking spaces. ParkMe Inc. is providing real-time parking data to owners of many Audi models through an app that can be downloaded to their vehicles’ infotainment systems. The app is available on all new Audi models with the exception of the TT, R8 and A3.
The app will allow drivers to call up real-time information about available spaces and parking rates at public, private and municipal parking facilities in major cities. Once an appropriate, vacant spot is located and selected, the system can provide turn-by-turn directions.
According to ParkMe co-founder Alexander Israel, the app is free of charge, and can be downloaded to smart phones, as well as the Audi infotainment system. Israel said the company is in the process of developing additional functions for the app, including the ability to reserve parking spaces prior to ones arrival at a parking facility.