Start-up Wants To Replace Stamped Metal License Plates With Smart Digital Displays

January 9, 2017 by Dave Haynes

A San Francisco-based company is showing an interactive digital license plate debuts today at the North American International Auto Show, which opened this week in Detroit.

The rPlate is touted as the first upgrade in 125 years on license plates – a multi-functional display that can do things like DMV registration automation, hyper-local messaging, telematics and vehicle management.

Prototype rPlates are already operational in California, and the company behind the tech, Reviver, plans to launch the rPlate in four states by the end of 2017. Reviver has several patents pending or obtained, the approval of state legislators in California and Florida, preliminary approval from Arizona’s DMV and Department of Transportation, and legislation in progress in Texas.

“Our team has been working to modernize the antiquated 125-year-old stamped metal license plate for more than seven years – including four years of successful collaboration with the California DMV, Governor’s Office and State Legislature, CHP and the California Department of Transportation, an effort that has paved the way for approvals in other states,” says Neville Boston, CEO and Founder of Reviver, in a press release.

“The rPlate opens up the ‘connected car’ ecosystem to a myriad of solutions – some of which are already in development and many that have yet to be imagined,” adds Boston.  “In addition to automating the costly DMV registration process and providing telematics and fleet management capabilities, the rPlate immediately unlocks a powerful new channel for OEMs, dealerships, and organizations, to reach and service customers in hyper-local and targeted ways.”

“The rPlate is the first ever ‘fifth screen’ or digital signage platform to grace the back of a vehicle and can be installed as an aftermarket product or seamlessly integrated directly into the design of the vehicle,” says Allan Cooper, a Partner at Reviver. “It can display hyper-local targeted messages to a captive audience when a vehicle is legally parked in any location.

“One example is the opportunity for auto retailers to use the rPlate to display customized messaging – such as the brand they sell, a lease payment specific to vehicle models, or a sponsored community event or charity on service loaner vehicles and company vehicles,” he adds.

The company’s software supports geolocation has built-in programming for emergency broadcasts like extreme weather warnings and Amber Alerts, as well as VIN-specific recall notifications. The rPlate can also automate the payment of toll road charges and parking fees.

The rPlate houses a GPS, accelerometer, RF sensors, CAN bus access, storage and is built to withstand all weather and extreme conditions. The rPlate’s 6″ x 12″ display is the same size as a standard state license plate and its anti-reflective screen is legible in all weather conditions.

The company also has an app store and 3rd-party app developer program.

This company doesn’t seem to fall into the well-populated digital signage goofball category – as in nerds with ideas about screens in odd places, but no concept of due diligence and pesky things like regulations. So based on OKs or ongoing discussions, at least, with state regulators, this would seem to be something that would be acceptable on roadways. I don’t quite get how first responders, like the police, call in plates when they’re showing ads for TRICITY CHRYSLER-DODGE, but I have to assume that’s been worked out.

Or some cops will be very irritated.

Certianly, at least some of what’s being proposed here has genuine practical application – notably the little registration stickers that could be sent digitally.

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