Daniel Susco
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License Plates May Soon Be Their Own Digital Device

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So, I would like to share a short story with you.

Recently, I sold my old car, moving from the hard-driven, dented Pontiac G6 to a slightly less hard-driven Nissan Altima. The process went very smoothly, with the exception of one point: the license plates.

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While the front license plate was simple to replace, the rear plate was a titanic, profanity-filled struggle, as the little plastic nubs that held the screws on the back of the car spun merrily in their holes as I twisted. In the end, after a long, cold struggle, I eventually had to pry back the liner on the trunk lid, reach inside with some very long pliers, and snag those plastic whatsits. In the end, I was left freezing, swearing, and late for work, all because I needed to screw a metal plate onto the back of my car.

Now, if all of our license plates were digital, that wouldn’t have even been a story.

Reviver rPlate digital license plate

A world without plain metal license plates is the vision of Reviver, a company which debuted the first interactive digital license plate at the Detroit Auto Show’s Automobili-D.

Called rPlate™, the technology is basically what it sounds like: a small screen attached to the back of your vehicle to display your license number. However, since it is an Internet of Things device, the plate offers a few advantages.

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The first is the solution to the above story—if the license plate is digital, then instead of taking one off and putting another on, you can simply change the number displayed. In addition, Reviver said that the plate could also be used for hyper-local messaging when the vehicle is legally parked, whether that means a custom message left by the driver, targeted advertising, recall information, or even spreading the word in the event of emergency broadcasts like extreme weather or Amber Alerts.

Reviver hopes to soon roll out its digital license plates in California, Florida, Arizona, and Texas, with more states apparently to follow.