California Tests Digital License Plates – 6 Pros and 4 Cons You Should Know Before Buying it for $700

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After years of development, Reviver Auto, a California start-up, starts testing ‘digital’ license plates in Sacramento. Nexter.org gathered benefits and weaknesses you should know before buying. 

Are you ready for digital future?

California’s futuristic new license plate is hitting the streets — a digital display board that allows changeable messages controlled by the driver or remotely by fleet managers. Last week, Sacramento became the first city to agree to test the plates, taking a shipment of 24 plates for its in-house vehicle fleet.

The new plates use the same computer technology as Kindle eBook readers, along with a wireless communication system. They come with their own computer chips and battery.

The plates retail for $699, plus a monthly service plan that costs up to $7.75 for the desktop browser-based software to manage the system and optional GPS tracking.

With the plates, drivers would never have to renew their tag in person at the DMV office or through the mail.  They could simply do it online with no need to replace stickers each year.

Some businesses will use them as mini-billboards to advertise their products or services, but will be able to do so only when the vehicle is stopped. The license plate number will still appear on the screen when messages pop up, but it will be smaller and tucked into the upper right corner of the screen.

Of course, there are still a lot of kinks to work out before electronic plates can go mainstream. Durability, visibility in sunlight, and cost are just some of the hurdles. Privacy groups in particular aren’t big fans of the technology. Much like with mobile phones, authorities could use electronic plates to see where drivers have traveled.

So, here’s a list of pros and cons that will help you to decide whether the new is really that cool.

Electronic-license-plates-photo

Source: Tony Bizjak

Pros

  • They look cool and futuristic
  •  You don’t have to go and wait in that long absurd line at the DMV

With the plates, drivers would never have to renew their tag in person at the DMV office or through the mail.  They could simply do it online with no need to replace stickers each year.

  • Customization

With a click of a button, you could have your favorite sports team, show off your alma mater or support your favorite cause. Each plate’s unique characters are constantly displayed.

  • Notifications

In an emergency, the tag displays weather advisories and Amber Alerts issued by the National Weather Service and law enforcement. Also messages could read “Uninsured” or “Suspended” for people who are driving without insurance, or “Stolen” in cases of auto theft. If the car is stolen, the plate’s manufacturer says the plate can tell the owner and police exactly where the car is or at least where the license plate is if it has been detached.

digital-license-plates-usa-photo

Source: The Sacramento Bee

 

Cons

  • Vulnerable to hacking

“Although the company will tell you that it’s got probably the same type of encryption as a bank has, guess what? Banks get hacked too. The government gets hacked, ” Craig Agranoff, a Boca Raton technology expert says.

  • It shows ads

If given permission advertisers could display ads on someone’s tag. The feature is available while a car is parked. Despite it is a huge advantage for entrepreneurs, for the rest of us it could be annoying.

  • Distraction for drivers

“Driver distraction is one of the biggest killers of teenagers in the United States,” said Gaffar, who is not affiliated with Reviver. “Having one more thing to look at while we’re driving will take our eyes off the road for a second or two more, which will have some side effects.”

  • Privacy issue

The Drive’s Alex Roy isn’t a huge fan of these electronic license plates, and is concerned about their potential to track a driver’s location and speed, as well as their capability of displaying a car’s insurance status.

  • Visibility in sunlight

In the sunny day, it could be hardly visible especially when a car moves fast.

  • Durability

In case you get in a crash, old good license plate will still identify your car even if he plate will be damaged but when talking about digital screen there’s a big question if they could survive such crash test.


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California Tests Digital License Plates - 6 Pros and 4 Cons You Should Know Before Buying
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California Tests Digital License Plates - 6 Pros and 4 Cons You Should Know Before Buying
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After years of development, Reviver Auto, a California start-up, starts testing ‘digital’ license plates in Sacramento. Nexter.org gathered benefits and weaknesses you should know before buying. 
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