Do you consider your car a high-speed gadget? Having a screen on the dashboard instead of the analog instruments, a screen on the center console and even a screen on the back of the headrests can make any vehicle seems like a large speeding gadget.
Now it looks like you can add yet another screen on your auto, although you can only see it if you get out of your vehicle: An electronic license plate! The Public Act 656 was approved in Michigan at the end of 2018 making digital license plates legal, although they have been allowed previously in California through a pilot program. Florida, Texas and Arizona allow them as well.
An electronic license plate emits a wireless signal that can be used to digitally monitor and track your car. It has a complicated design that collaborates with the car’s computer system and can correspond with other sources that may access it remotely for vehicle regulation use.
Why would you want an electronic license plate? It does have a lot of time-saving and creative features. For instance, the display does more than simply showing the plate number, you can update your registration stickers using an app instead of the hassle of the DMV. If your car is stolen, it can display “Stolen Vehicle” or “SNDHLP!”. Amber alerts can be displayed on it and it can also help you keep tabs on your teen driver. When parked, it can be like a lower-level billboard. If you use FasTrak, E-Z Pass or another RFID-based device to pay tolls, it can double for those. A lot of various functions can be supported through it.
On the down side, these plates are not cheap. Basic plates run around $499 and the Pro plates offering more advanced features start at $799. There is also a subscription fee of $99, the first year being included in the price. Some features like vehicle insights to fuel use, travel patterns, and motor diagnostics can be found through less-expensive options. If you see it more as a communication portal than a license plate, the value might be there for you.
So far, thousands of these plates have been purchased with many happy clients using them, including the government of Sacramento. They have these plates on about 30+ vehicles used by their administrative staff and so far, they’ve been pleased. They can monitor how much each vehicle is being driven and ensure they get regular maintenance.
Whether you like the idea of a digital license plate as a new gadget for your vehicle, or if you’re satisfied already with what you use, the car industry is always advancing with changes. Even if it is the modest license plate.
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