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In California, license plates might go electronic


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SACRAMENTO, Calif.—As electronic highway billboards flashing neon advertisements become more prevalent, the next frontier in distracted driving is already approaching—ad-blaring license plates. The California Legislature is considering a bill that would allow the state to begin researching the use of electronic license plates for vehicles. The move is intended as a moneymaker for a state facing a $19 billion deficit.

The device would mimic a standard license plate when the vehicle is in motion but would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds, whether in traffic or at a red light. The license plate number would remain visible at all times in some section of the screen.

In emergencies, the plates could be used to broadcast Amber Alerts or traffic information.

The whole article is HERE.

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I'm stunned.

While its quite an interesting idea... you could have stolen cars plates flash or what not... but, WOW, this is crazy from a technological view. I can't imagine how much this would cost per plate... its akin to bolting an IPad to your bumper. Even stripped down to a hardware minimum, I see this as a minimum of a $70 per license plate... not because its hard to make, but because it needs to be weatherproof. Plus it needs some sort of GPS (to detect motion) and communications (to change up the ads). Then there is the issue of powering it... not all rear harness lighting is live during the daytime... so you would have to run wiring pretty far in the car to get something hot.

Good to see the lawmakers are busy doing serious work in Cali.

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Tracking drivers' locations.

Nowhere in the article does it talk about tracking drivers, though I could see it being misused for that later, but neither I, nor the article alluded to that. Current license plates "track" drivers. Tracking drivers is something already out of Pandora's box... and will get more prevalent, either through active tracking or license plate cameras. I'm not happy about it... but I know better to bring up the subject here, as their is little interest in it, and many seem to want more driver tracking.

Beyond the tinfoil angle, this seems like a really dumb, expensive idea overall...

Absolutely agree.

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Nowhere in the article does it talk about tracking drivers, though I could see it being misused for that later, but neither I, nor the article alluded to that.

True, but such a usage is implicit..this technology could be quite useful for active tracking and monitoring of driver's locations..what government wouldn't want to do that, if they had access to all that real-time data?

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Okay, I'm wondering a couple things.

Like, did this guy do research on how much this is going to cost? I assume that this magical plate will have to have A) a power source that the state will maintain, since I'm not going to plug it in for you, B) some connection to a cellular network to get the ad signals to the plate and C) GPS, an accelerometer or some connection to the cars onboard computers to know when the car has been idle for four seconds to display these ads. Like someone else said, it's like strapping an iPad to your bumper and frankly I'm not paying for that unless I get cut in on the revenue.

All so your license plate can cease to give the one piece of information it's sole job should be to ask you to "Eat at Joe's"?

Why not do it with drivers licenses too? When the cop wants to write you a ticket he'll have to sit through a 30 second commercial for a donut shop! :rolleyes:

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