California has introduced new digital license plates which can display different messages and be tracked.
The new plates are essentially very simple tablets and come with an in-built battery and computer chips. The manufacturer behind the digital plates says that they could particularly important if a vehicle is stolen as they feature a tracking function. However, would-be thieves could simply detach the plates, rendering this feature rather useless.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles is currently conducting a pilot project with Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the plate.
The DMV will not sell the plates and they will only be available through auto dealerships. As with any new technology, the digital license plates won’t be cheap. In fact, customers will be forced to pony up an expected $699, excluding installation costs, plus a monthly fee of roughly $7.
According to Revier Auto founder Neville Boston, the digital plates will prove particularly popular among companies using vehicle fleets. For example, the plates could be used to advertise products and services when the vehicle is stationary.
A spokesman from the DMV declined to reveal to The Bee what the state plans on using the plates for and simply said they are being tested for the moment.
“The purpose of the pilot is to identify and detail potential benefits, so we are still in the evaluation phase and won’t make any determinations until the pilot concludes.”