E Paper License Plates Now Road-Authorized in California


Replace 14 Oct. 2022: The “Kindle” of license plates—Reviver’s linked, digital RPlate—is now authorized to be used by any California car-owner, following a ten,000-car pilot that began in 2018. The California Motor Car Digital Quantity Plates invoice that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed this month authorizes digital replacements for standard license plates, stickers, tabs, and registration playing cards, together with the first-to-market Reviver product.

Outdoors of California, the gadget has been authorised to be used by industrial fleet automobiles in Michigan, Arizona, and Texas, and 10 extra U.S. states are contemplating authorization.

The battery-operated RPlate for customers presently sells as a subscription service for $19.95 per thirty days for 48 months; a hard-wired model for industrial automobiles sells for $24.95 per thirty days.

Within the story under (initially revealed 18 June 2018), we describe the RPlate and its potential makes use of; most of those particulars—apart from the pricing construction—haven’t modified.

That license plate body sporting a dealership identify, sports activities staff brand, or your favourite superhero? That’s so final yr.

This yr, auto sellers in California will be capable of transcend personalised license plate frames to promote “Kindle-ized” license plates, wherein the complete plate can show {custom} textual content and graphics utilizing e-paper expertise. These shows may be up to date remotely, with such updates changing the little date stickers that have to be reapplied annually when registration is renewed.

And, when the automotive is stopped, drivers may also be capable of scale back the license quantity to a small window and use the remainder of the display screen for a special graphic. (Although I’m unsure the folks stopped behind a custom-plate-bearing automotive will discover; so many individuals take that chance to surreptitiously examine their cellphones.)

Reviver Auto is making the so-called Rplates, they usually aren’t low-cost—the plates are listed at US $700, plus an $8 a month subscription payment. [See updated pricing above. –Ed.] The corporate is initially centered on advertising them to fleet managers, who’re anticipated to make use of the shows for promoting messages, however expects early adopters to rapidly leap on the expertise, and different customers to return on board as the corporate proves out the plates’ usefulness.

The undertaking began in 2008, Reviver founder and CEO Neville Boston says, with a plan to get rid of these date stickers—it was time, he thought, to get registration renewals out of snail mail and into the wi-fi world. Within the midst of an financial downturn, he says, he was additionally trying to become involved with one thing that exists in good occasions and unhealthy—and the DMV is actually that.

Then, he says, he began excited about what else e-paper plates might do. His record of prospects contains:

  • Paying for tolls and parking
  • Figuring out vehicles as authorized for journey in high-occupancy car lanes
  • Changing particular hangtags and license plates for folks with disabilities
  • Serving to an Uber driver discover a passenger by displaying the passenger’s identify
  • Indicating {that a} automotive is in autonomous mode
  • Displaying a QR code that would work with an app for keyless entry
  • Celebrating holidays with greetings, like “Pleased Father’s Day”
  • Switching between a number of particular curiosity plates; drivers received’t need to decide to supporting, say, Lake Tahoe, on the expense of Yosemite or the California coast

Not a foul record. However as soon as these changeable plates are out within the wild, it looks as if it’ll be simply moments earlier than somebody builds an app to shoot them messages like “Again off, tailgater!”—or possibly show the driving force’s Twitter feed.

Boston says he’s considered that—any message should be authorised by the DMV earlier than it’s added to the library, and solely messages from that library could go to the plate.

One of many earliest adopters would be the metropolis of Sacramento; metropolis managers are ordering the plates for brand new city-owned automobiles and anticipate to make use of the plates to show public service bulletins and Amber Alerts.

License plate identifying the car as stolen.
Picture: Reviver Auto

These plates are additionally trackable—one other boon to fleet homeowners, and possibly to oldsters of youngsters—however that function raises apparent privateness issues, although Reviver affords a bunch of assurances about its cybersecurity practices. If these issues are resolved, trackability could possibly be a useful technique to thwart thieves: A stolen automotive might show its personal SOS message.

California was the primary state to formally approve the digital plates; Arizona could possibly be subsequent, because it’s conducting a pilot take a look at of the expertise. Boston mentioned three extra U.S. states will introduce the devices this yr, and his firm is “in dialog” with 10 extra.

Reviver has additionally signed a proof-of-concept settlement with the federal government of Dubai, who, Boston says, is considering the plates slightly in a different way than DMV officers in america. “They wish to know who’s driving round of their nation,” he says.

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