California vehicles and roads just got a little more innovative and maybe even a little safer, with the passage of a bill that allows for digital license plates across the state.
Not to be confused with digital license plate readers used by law enforcement and towing companies, the new bill allows for digital license plates to replace the traditional license plate or ‘tag’ as we know it.
While the new technology will allow for cool marketing ideas, like rooting on your favorite California sports team while sitting in unbearable LA traffic; the technology actually has some real-life use cases that could be used for good, if the cost can be reduced drastically for everyday consumers.
The ability to turn every moving vehicle into an active AMBER Alert certainly has its benefits, but the technology also raises digital privacy concerns, including the ability to hack such devices. Innovation and new ideas will always come wedded with such concerns, those issues have plenty of time to be ironed out until the price point drops.
Upfront the digital license plate will require shelling out $1,100 for a hard-wired version. A battery-powered version is available for around $20/month on a subscription basis. That’s a steep asking price for something that traditionally costs $69 in California.
The ability to display AMBER alerts on these new devices is certainly compelling but likely not a factoring decision for consumers when dishing out money for vehicle registration. With that being said, hopefully, law enforcement and state agencies look to the same types of innovation to improve processes, especially when they have the potential to save lives.