California Starts Pilot With Digital License Plates, What It’ll Cost You

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.”

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  • xDRAN0x

    Very important to display overpriced watch at all time.

    • Huge Dom

      Lol. I am a watch guy and can’t even make out what it is… Rolex Yacht Master II ??

      • LeStori

        That watch is the Wayne Kerr Special Edition. Worthless…

  • ProtectOurHeritage

    Just the thing the world has been crying out for, an LED licence plate, not.

    I’m guessing it is going to be hackable by criminals?

    • Status

      It’s also great for inflaming luddites and those fearful of anything invented after 1975.

      • ProtectOurHeritage

        Licence plates have worked well since they were first put on automobiles back in 1901. There’s an old saying…. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

        • Status

          And Truman Capote once said “that’s not writing, that’s typing”, but I guess handwriting isn’t ‘broken’ in your eyes, is it?

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            Typing and handwriting are used for different purposes, thankfully I can do both rather well. I’m hardly going to hand write a comment for the internet now, am I?

            You carry on your good work of promoting these plates. I’m sure you’ll be able to hack them and steal a few cars in no time.

          • Status

            As opposed to a overly protective, electricity-impaired, soy-world where everything you can’t immediately understand without a Haynes manual or a bible is painted in fear, I think I’ll have I’ll have a fine time in 21st century.

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            You’re an easily triggered delicate snowflake. Hope Mommy comes and wraps you in cotton wool before you harm yourself or others.

          • Status

            What do I have to be sorry of? You’re the one running in fear of a damn license plate, and an electric one at that. If anything, you’re the hippie with a soy addiction trying to reduce the modern world into a Bob Dylan tribute concert because you can’t keep up.

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            I’m not running in fear of a licence plate. I’m just laughing at a product that is so niche, that it’ll never meet the regulations of much of the developed world, especially Europe. Like I said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. What’s wrong with Bob Dylan? You more of a Beyoncé fan?

            Please note: Soy products are for digitally-obsessed millennials who want to be chauffeured by Elon Musk’s dangerous tech because they think it’s “cool”, i.e. they’re too lazy to drive!

          • Status

            Beyonce is beneath me, as is Dylan. Both as just music artists for consumers. The real difference between them is ones’ listeners are unabashedly and openly consumeristic, and other listeners like to pretend that they aren’t because they still think in terms of “the little guy” and “the man”.

            Lastly, it’s not that millennials want to be chauffeured, but the autonomous car is a by product of city planning and density targets. The more tax payers per square, the better. On top of that, city zoning laws will change to favour higher density developments and less on infrastructural construction. This means that the car will either have to play decreasing role in day-to-day affairs of the tax payer, or the car will become smarter in it’s operation to minimize its impact the city. A city’s annual budget for infrastructural repairs can’t keep allocating funds for widening roads and running utilities out to bedroom communities, so rather than keep paying for road works and gridlock, the next best thing is to get the cars to drive more efficiently and without conflict via V2V and V2I communication on public road that are already overloaded with cars filled with inattentive drivers.

            The automakers know this, and they want to keep making cars. They will be making autonomous car in the future.

            And all you seem to think this is about a generational difference.

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            And digital licence plates will help with that change? Hilarious.

          • Status

            You think this is a Tesla only game? You’re not even looking.

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            But how will the digital licence plate helps?

            I live in such a rural location that I’ll probably be too old to drive before any sort of autonomous technology will be reliable enough for where I live. The current tech can’t cope with unbridged fords, narrow lanes with sporadic passing places, can reverse into passing places when agricultural machinery coming the other way can’t pass through, etc.

          • Status

            As for the plates, all the better to find you with, my dear.

            Besides, if the cars can communicate and coordinate with each other and with the infrastructure, then really, what would anyone have to worry about being tracked by their plate? Cars can already located and tracked, and if someone is only too proud to boast of owning cars older than 1995, then all cities have to do is bar them from entry (or even restrict them to reduced speeds so as not to interfere with autonomous traffic like a muslim with a rented pickup), and have 2nd level governments bar them from registration.

            There’s also insurance companies, and even they know that their exposure to risk will be diminished to nill with the autonomous car. There will always be need for insurance, but for those with manually driven cars, the cost for such mandatory insurance will be crippling to all but the wealthy.

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            “As for the plates, all the better to find you with, my dear.”
            People who like to think they live in a free society, especially those that oppose how social media already use our data, hate the idea of being spied on even more. Gives you a raging hard on, I guess?

            “insurance companies, and even they know that their exposure to risk will be diminished to nill”.
            Right now it looks like, especially with the Tesla cases, the losers that buy them don’t know how the technology works and ends up either killing or injuring themselves. Uber’s technology has already cost lives. Insurance companies don’t tend to like that.

            Drivers don’t kill people, untrained drivers do. Why should people who can’t safely drive a car with their hands ON the wheel be allowed to “drive” a car hands-off?

          • Status

            I have no problems with those who willingly chose to ignore the EULA and hand over their consumer/user data. After all, the user is promised a service on that platform, and if they want that service bad enough, they’ll keep clicking/tapping ‘accept’.

            You don’t think Disqus has built up a consumer profile of you and me? If you hate being spied on so much, why are you using it? Get out while you can.

            Insurance companies won’t care. They exist to mitigate end-user risk and satisfy governmental insurance requirements. 100 years ago, someone in the insurance industry had to step up and insurance a car, and insurance companies have no problem insurance high-risk drivers today.

            An untrained driver is as capable of fault as normal driver, and drivers (trained or otherwise) do kill others. Calling them something other than what they are is deliberate obfuscation. For those who can’t drive properly, an autonomous car will do just fine, and it doesn’t take much of a learning algorithm to be better than the worst drivers.

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            Who do you think Porsche won’t fit Apple CarPlay as standard and why they don’t even offer Android Auto as an option? Not because they don’t want to, but because they know their customers don’t want it. People don’t want their privacy invaded. I don’t give a damn about Disqus, but I do care about the technology in my car.

            You may think that in the future we will all live in urban metropolises where autonomous cars work perfectly, but you’re wrong. I drive down roads that are no wider than 6ft that have grass growing up the middle. This isn’t a rare occasion, it is everyday. I drive through small rivers. Some days they are impassable because of the water depth and flowing current , other days they can be fine. Sometimes I meet agricultural vehicles and have to reverse backwards into gateways to let them pass. Sometimes I have to drive around animals that refuse to move out of the road. I’m not convinced that in the thirty years I have left driving, technology will be able to cope with the differing environments. If someone is totally untrained and reliant upon the car making decisions then they wouldn’t even go a few miles.

            Please note, I’m fully aware how insurance companies operate. The insurance company I use for my car was founded 53 years before California’s admission to the Union.

          • Status

            And you don’t think the learning algorithm can adapt to the change in road conditions as you have done?

          • ProtectOurHeritage

            No, I think the numbers of sensor on the car would probably have to double. How would it know how deep the rivers I drive through are? Could it tell how fast the water is flowing? How does it tell the difference between a passing place or someone’s private driveway?

            Hopefully the fascists who want this technology are the ones who suffer the most when it goes horrifically wrong.

  • kimbentsen

    This is what I have been looking for. When parked I will just display an advertisement. No more parking fines.

  • pjl35

    Why wouldn’t utilizing some sort of other tracker embedded in the car itself make more sense and be wayyy cheaper? If the loophole is that the device can still be disabled, what problem is this solving exactly?

  • wins_lord

    Still cheaper than my Washington plates 🤣 LMAO

  • kachuks

    Isn’t any device with a LED screen highly coveted by petty thieves the world over?

  • europeon

    They should have used 2SAM564 for the press photos.

  • Helder Rosário

    but…what about dead pixels? and burned image on screen for alwas having the same fixed figure? and bad weather? i get a new one if they stole mine?

  • brn

    Strap a Kindle to the front of your car and see how well it holds up to weather.

  • brn


  • eb110americana

    So there is literally no upside to this, other than additional advertising when you are parked, and a tracking system that can be removed from the outside of the car with a screwdriver?! But hey, at least they are $700 + $84/year expensive! Why are they wasting taxpayer dollars on this nonsense?!


    Another avenue for raising user fees…considering that tax revenues are likely to crater going forward.

  • Mill0048

    I know you copy/pasted the, “Hold on…” text, but it’s going to make people think you are willing to use the Caps Lock button. Stay true to your caps!


  • Alfa Giulia QV

    Oh look, California being stupid again and wasting taxpayer money on nonsense that has no benefits to anyone. What a surprise.

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