For the last few years, our cars have been undergoing a transformation. Tesla has pioneered autopilot and fully-electronic technology. Automobiles that can fly have become publicly available and ready for worldwide testing.
However, one element of the world’s favorite form of transportation has remained relatively unchanged for the past century: the license plate. Since 1903, this thin metal tag for identifying cars and their registered owners has represented a time capsule of Roosevelt-era technology and regulatory structure.
Enter the Reviver license plate (rPlate), which has the appearance of a Kindle tablet turned horizontally. It is capable of wireless connectivity, allowing it to displaying instantly updated registration information as well as individualized plate styles, Amber alerts, and more. About 100,000 of these plates are scheduled to hit roads in select states next year.
The ability to instantly update registration status means that constantly updating stickers could be a thing of the past. It could also allow states to set up month-by-month payment options. The digital plate could also be programmed to connect with smart parking apps and services and display parking status, potentially making parking meters a thing of the past.
A big draw of the plate may be its part in protecting against theft, as it is designed not to work if it’s separated from its car. The option to personalize license plates will also be tantalizing to some car owners, as it will allow drivers to update their plate to support various causes, or simply show their styles in different ways.
However, the rPlate could have a significant downside. The company is only releasing the plates in states with warmer climates at this point, which may mean that they have issues operating in cooler temperatures. Hopefully, these plates will continue to evolve to be able to withstand harsher temperatures, allowing everyone to take advantage of the technology.