New technology is hitting the streets in California that lets motorists use high-tech digital license plates on their vehicles instead of the old-fashioned metal variety.
The Motor Vehicle Digital Number Plates Bill (AB 984), passed earlier this month, allows California vehicle owners to use the digital plates, made exclusively by California company Reviver.
The plates, which resemble tablets. connect to an app that offers registration renewal, vehicle location services and security features — such as reporting a vehicle stolen. They are the same shape and size as traditional license plates, and give users the option to change the plate's background color by toggling between a light or dark mode. Motorists can also personalize a banner message on the plate.
The bill's passage follows a successful pilot program in which approximately 10,000 California drivers demoed the new technology.
"Californians are known to be early adopters of emerging innovative technologies. We welcome new opportunities to automate and integrate as many parts of our lives as possible, enabling us to streamline mundane tasks and stay connected. Our cars are no exception," Reviver co-founder Neville Boston said in a statement.
The digital, tablet-like license plates raise privacy and safety fears — concerns the bill addresses by banning them from using GPS except in certain cases, like on fleet and commercial vehicles.
"AB 984 strikes a necessary balance between innovation and privacy while digitizing the only thing on our cars today that remain antiquated, license plates," said Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson (D-Suisun City).
Reviver's digital license plates cost as little as $19.95 per month, or about $960 for four years, according to the company. Installation fees are $99.
Digital plates are also legal in Michigan and Arizona, while a handful of other states are in various stages of approving the devices.
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