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California experiments with digital license plates

The trial is being operated by California Department of Motor Vehicles. The public administrators are running a pilot project in conjunction with the connected car platform provider Reviver Auto (who are based in Foster City, California). The trial will involve the use of Reviver’s Rplate Pro digital license plates.

These license plates enable changeable messages to be controlled by the driver or remotely via fleet managers. The City of Sacramento has outfitted the entire public sector automobile fleet, which is largely composed of Chevy Bolts with the digital plates. This means some 35 vehicles will be fitted with the new plates.

The new digital license plates are made up of a monochrome bistable display (much like those found on a Kindle). They also have wireless connectivity capability, plus a battery, processor, an in-built global positioning system, accelerometer, RF sensors, storage, together with CAN bus access.
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One of the aims of fitting the plates, along with improved tracking and tracing, is to help meet the city’s clean vehicle technologies targets. This is through undertaking data analytics on movements and mileage. The plates will also signal if a vehicle is involved in an accident or if the vehicle is stolen.

According to Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “Sacramento intends to be the state and national leader on alternative fuel technology, on autonomous vehicles, on research and development, and on all things innovation.”

Steinberg also adds that the use of the plates fits in with his city’s 5G future development plans, and the implementation of smart city technology. Much of the strategy connects in with the use of sensors and the gathering of data to help manage traffic flows.

The plates will also have the ability to display messages, like public service announcements. The digital technology replaces the 125 year-old metal stamped license plate. Each of the new digital plates costs $699, plus the cost of installation and a $7 monthly user fee.

Commenting on the technology, Neville Boston, CEO of the California-based Reviver Auto, told TeleCom TV: “We are proud to team up with the City of Sacramento and applaud their leadership as they implement the Rplate Pro into their smart city infrastructure.”
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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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