A digital license plate prototype was presented at the North American International Auto Show by a start-up called Reviver in 2017. At first sight, the rPlate is an anti-reflective LCD display with a code number on it. A closer look reveals that the device is equipped with a GPS receiver, accelerometer, RF sensors, and CAN bus access, enabling it to communicate with the local environment. This enables the rPlate to exchange information with the authorities in real-time. The display can be updated to show when a vehicle has been stolen, the registration tag is expired, or when the operator's license has been suspended. At the same time, the display can serve as a visual warning device enabling communication with pedestrians. This idea is already being promoted by start-ups like Drive.ai and Humanising Autonomy.
The digital license plate also functions like Google AdSense for vehicles. When the car is parked, the plate is transformed into an advertising medium. Using geo-fencing technology, the exact location of the vehicle can be determined and linked with promotional offers available from local businesses.
For instance, if a car is in the parking lot of a hardware store, the rPlate would advertise products on sale in the outlet. For this type of screen sharing, the vehicle owner could be paid for each ad displayed. For car sharing fleets like car2go, the advertising would be a potential source of income when the vehicle is parked. Interactive plates could be part of a digital signage ecosystem that smart glass manufacturers like Corning and Gauzy or start-ups like car2ad are interested in penetrating.
Digital number plates could also provide valuable support for fleet management systems like Digital Vehicle Scan. They transmit real-time data about drivers and their vehicles, enable automatic vehicle registration, and provide a platform for wireless payment of road tolls, parking fees, and fuel charges.