Want an electronic license plate connected to the DMV? This startup has one

February 14, 2017

For historians, the 16th century was the height of the Renaissance. The 18th century was all about the Enlightenment. And the 2000s may one day be described as the Great Networking: the era in which people, communities, and corporations became linked to one another via a series of online networks. 

This phenomenon has already affected much of our daily lives through a seemingly endless series of social networks. But one area left largely untouched by the networking bug has been our governmental processes--specifically, those that relate to our cars. 

Reviver wants to change that. The start-up has created a digital license plate called the "rPlate" that's connected to the DMV and can upgrade itself automatically. 

That alone would be pretty cool. After all, it seems pretty clear that another auto-related document, the driver's license, will go digital in the near future. Why not bring license plates along for the ride?

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Maybe it's because people have some perfectly legitimate privacy concerns when it comes to letting government officials know every detail of their travel plans. Reviver doesn't do anything to calm those worries: as you'll see in the demo video above, Reviver envisions allowing people--presumably fleet managers, but potentially law enforcement officials and others--to track cars' whereabouts, and even their speed.

That seems like a pretty slippery slope, and it could be the reason that other companies pitching similar ideas have failed to gain traction in the marketplace. 

But Reviver goes even further. It wants to turn the world's sea of license plates into a platform for apps, allowing companies to advertise their products on cars' rear ends. So, instead of relying on bumper stickers or window clings, companies could run ads right on license plates. 

Maybe it's just us, but that would seem to run counter to the premise of a license plate. After all, if you can't see a plate's numbers, how can you identify the car later? At the very least, it would be a major distraction--and if there's one thing today's drivers don't need, it's another distraction.

Check the video above and share your thoughts in the comments below.

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