Friday, March 5, 2021

Digital Number Plates Look a Promising Move to Some - Big Brother to Others

Help! This Vehicle Has Been Stolen!
Shipping News Feature

US – WORLDWIDE – Technology moves quickly these days (just look at the vaccine drive) but nowhere it seems faster than in the world of transportation. The latest headline gadget it seems will be the digital vehicle registration plate.

In the UK and elsewhere the use of automatic number plate recognition technology has already become commonplace and monitors a variety of aspects from speeding and stolen vehicles to road and parking tolls. Now however the new kid on the block seems to be the intelligent number plate.

A US company ReviverMX, is producing digital number plates which can automatically update the vehicle’s registration details, in some ways the equivalent of UK road tax by showing the ownership is valid and the requisite fee paid. Up to now the supply of plates is limited to certain fee paying customers in California and Arizona but now legislation appears imminent to allow the technology in Florida.

If passed, the sponsored legislation (SB 862) would authorise a pilot programme to allow the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to contract with a digital plate provider, something which would likely mean from July 2022 drivers would have the option of fitting one of the digital screens to their vehicle.

That of course is not the end of the story. With such a flexible piece of kit the vehicle could be adjusted so it might be tracked by the police, the plates could even switch from the registration details to a flashing alert that it had been stolen, or even warn drivers behind of upcoming problems on the highway ahead.

As long as we can keep the things advert free one might reasonably expect the digital plates to become a regular feature on both cars and trucks of the future. Excepting of course those who will object under a perceived loss of human rights. So expect a US wide roll out to be a lot more protracted than elsewhere, due to the state wide, rather than federal, regulations covering such matters.