Digital License Plates Are Coming
Neville Boston, CEO of Reviver Auto, wanted to develop a solution to streamline the automobile registration process in 2008. This was years before the animated sloths at the DMV counter in the popular film "Zootopia." He was aware that the procedure would only improve if drivers could completely bypass such sloths and update their registration electronically and automatically. "People frequently ask how I managed to get through the DMV," Boston claims. That's perhaps why it still took Boston years to bring his idea—a digital license plate called RPlate Pro—to life. "I didn't. I worked with the DMV. They became like partners. But the process is the process.
Works Like A Car's Kindle
Similar to Kindle e-readers, the Reviver Auto RPlate Pro digital license plate employs e-ink technology to display license plate numbers and registration dates in black and white. It is available in California. Drivers can easily renew and pay the DMV online by using the RConnect platform to update registrations. RConnect automatically updates the dates on the digital license plate, saving you the time and inconvenience of waiting for stickers to be sent or, worse, going to the DMV.
The plate is really simple to install. It plugs into a car's battery, but according to Boston, "it takes no power to show an image so the plate will always operate as a license plate." That is, unless someone removes the plate from the vehicle. When that happens, it goes blank and texts the owner. The word "STOLEN" is then substituted for the license plate numbers, and the vehicle's position is broadcast via the RConnect web network. This plate is quite clever!
A New Plate Everyday?
Other messages can also be shown on the RPlate Pro. Owners can opt to support organizations like breast cancer awareness campaigns or college football teams by ordering a different specialty plate each day. Boston asserts that the states adopting his digital plates continue to receive payment for speciality plates and that it is possible to have an infinite number of such plates on a single plate. Similar to the messages broadcast on digital highway signs, the digital plates will also be able to display emergency alerts like Amber Alerts or severe weather advisories.
Even adverts might be placed on the tags of drivers. For instance, if you run a company with a fleet of delivery vans, you might think about placing an advertisement on the vans' license plates. There is a messaging component when business vehicles are legally parked, and Boston really emphasizes the word legally here. Fleet owners that employ digital plates on their cars can also benefit from a wide range of other benefits, according to Boston. One benefit is that any truck in the fleet, regardless of where it is on a task, can have its registration renewed remotely. The owner of each truck may always find out where their truck is by looking at the license plates. The plates even allow owners to pay bridge tolls, and Reviver Auto is currently working on an update that would allow the plates to function with parking meters.
Safety On The Road And On The Web
What occurs then if you are rear-ended and your license plate is damaged? Boston asserts that compliance must come first with the plate. That means the license plate must always be readable. According to him, the e-ink display functions similarly to how windshield safety glass does. Your windshield spiders and cracks when a rock strikes it, but it does not break. The RPlate Pro is the same. In addition to the plate's physical vulnerability, there is also the issue of digital security and privacy.
Boston declares that they are fiercely pro-privacy. For example, drivers can opt to have GPS integrated on their license plates – or not. "We talked to the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and we're upfront about every information that we're letting to be allowed." Although it is an absolutely optional choice in the privacy preferences, turning it off will prevent functions like the location of a stolen license plate from working. Boston claims that they use the same security standards for online banking in terms of security.
Is It Expensive?
In addition to being sold in California, the RPlate Pro is also legal to use in Arizona, Texas, and Florida so far. But the price is steep. Drivers will have to pay $599 for the license plate alone, plus an additional $8 each month for the service plan. That price is anticipated to decrease as the device is released, similar to so many other vehicle advancements, according to Boston. While the RPlate may be pricey, it is a simple method to introduce connectivity to older vehicles, whether they are personally owned or part of a company fleet. "Our objective is to have one on every vehicle." In 2018, ReviverAuto intends to roll out the RPlate both domestically and abroad in close to a dozen states.