E Paper License Plates Now Street-Legal in California

Maria J. Smith

Update 14 Oct. 2022: The “Kindle” of license plates—Reviver’s linked, electronic RPlate—is now legal for use by any California car or truck-proprietor, subsequent a 10,000-auto pilot that commenced in 2018. The California Motor Automobile Electronic Range Plates invoice that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed this thirty day period authorizes electronic replacements for common license plates, stickers, tabs, and registration cards, such as the very first-to-market place Reviver products.

Outside the house of California, the machine has been accepted for use by professional fleet motor vehicles in Michigan, Arizona, and Texas, and 10 supplemental U.S. states are considering authorization.

The battery-operated RPlate for consumers at present sells as a membership service for $19.95 for every thirty day period for 48 months a challenging-wired edition for industrial cars sells for $24.95 for every thirty day period.

In the tale down below (at first printed 18 June 2018), we explain the RPlate and its prospective employs most of these details—other than the pricing structure—haven’t changed.

That license plate frame sporting a dealership identify, sports activities team emblem, or your favourite superhero? Which is so previous calendar year.

This calendar year, auto sellers in California will be capable to go past customized license plate frames to sell “Kindle-ized” license plates, in which the whole plate can display custom made textual content and graphics applying e-paper technological know-how. These displays can be updated remotely, with these kinds of updates changing the minor day stickers that ought to be reapplied each and every yr when registration is renewed.

And, when the auto is stopped, motorists will also be in a position to minimize the license quantity to a little window and use the relaxation of the display for a distinct graphic. (Although I’m not confident the individuals stopped powering a customized-plate-bearing automobile will recognize so several people today just take that option to surreptitiously verify their cell phones.)

Reviver Automobile is creating the so-named Rplates, and they aren’t cheap—the plates are shown at US $700, as well as an $8 a thirty day period membership fee. [See updated pricing above. –Ed.] The corporation is at first centered on internet marketing them to fleet administrators, who are expected to use the shows for marketing messages, but expects early adopters to quickly jump on the technological innovation, and other individuals to come on board as the company proves out the plates’ usefulness.

The project begun in 2008, Reviver founder and CEO Neville Boston claims, with a program to reduce these date stickers—it was time, he believed, to get registration renewals out of snail mail and into the wi-fi planet. In the midst of an economic downturn, he says, he was also seeking to get associated with a thing that exists in excellent occasions and bad—and the DMV is certainly that.

Then, he claims, he started off imagining about what else e-paper plates could do. His listing of choices includes:

  • Spending for tolls and parking
  • Figuring out automobiles as lawful for travel in high-occupancy motor vehicle lanes
  • Replacing unique hangtags and license plates for men and women with disabilities
  • Serving to an Uber driver uncover a passenger by displaying the passenger’s identify
  • Indicating that a motor vehicle is in autonomous mode
  • Displaying a QR code that could work with an app for keyless entry
  • Celebrating vacations with greetings, like “Happy Father’s Day”
  • Switching concerning various special interest plates motorists won’t have to commit to supporting, say, Lake Tahoe, at the cost of Yosemite or the California coastline

Not a lousy checklist. But when these changeable plates are out in the wild, it looks like it’ll be just moments just before an individual builds an application to shoot them messages like “Back off, tailgater!”—or possibly show the driver’s Twitter feed.

Boston claims he’s thought of that—any concept will have to be accepted by the DMV right before it is extra to the library, and only messages from that library could go to the plate.

A single of the earliest adopters will be the metropolis of Sacramento city administrators are purchasing the plates for new metropolis-owned autos and expect to use the plates to exhibit community services bulletins and Amber Alerts.

License plate identifying the car as stolen.
Picture: Reviver Auto

These plates are also trackable—another boon to fleet house owners, and probably to mothers and fathers of teenagers—but that element raises evident privacy considerations, although Reviver provides a host of assurances about its cybersecurity practices. If individuals concerns are resolved, trackability could be a useful way to thwart robbers: A stolen motor vehicle could screen its very own SOS information.

California was the initial state to formally approve the electronic plates Arizona could be subsequent, as it’s conducting a pilot check of the technological know-how. Boston said three more U.S. states will introduce the devices this calendar year, and his enterprise is “in conversation” with 10 far more.

Reviver has also signed a proof-of-thought agreement with the federal government of Dubai, who, Boston suggests, is thinking about the plates a tiny otherwise than DMV officials in the United States. “They want to know who is driving around in their country,” he claims.

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