Testing has begun in California on a new tech innovation that could completely change vehicle registration in the future – digital license plates. While they will initially be an optional accessory that vehicle owners purchase from dealers, if testing goes well, they could eventually replace those familiar government issued metal plates.
The new digital plates, developed by a company called Reviver Auto, utilizes a technology similar to that used by the Amazon for its Kindle E-reader. According to the Sacramento Bee, Sacramento is first city to test the new digital license plates on 24 of the city’s fleet vehicles. The units will have the capability to display public service announcements, amber alerts, and other similar types of information.
The California DMV plans to offer the new plates through dealers in conjunction with Reviver Auto. Vehicle owners who opt for the digital plate will be able to register their vehicles electronically, eliminating the need to put updated sticker tags on their plates each year.
The digital plates offer particular advantages for fleet managers, who can collect real-time information from fleet vehicles including on-road tracking. The digital plates can be configured to display personal messages or even mini-billboard advertising, which displays only when the vehicle comes to a stop.
A security advantage that digital license plates offer fleet owners and drivers is that in the event of theft, the plate can tell both the owner and law enforcement the location of the vehicle. The digital plates are engineered with tamper-resistant and anti-theft features.
According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the digital plates will first be sold at dealerships in California and Arizona. Next, they will be available in Nevada, Maryland and Pennsylvania before going overseas to be tested in Dubai.
For private consumers who want the technology the price is steep. They cost $699 for individual consumers, plus installation, along with a monthly fee of about $7.