Following California and Michigan, Arizona last week became the third state to introduce digital license plates as an option for motorists.
Arizona said that its digital plates come the same firm that makes the technology for California and Michigan, Reviver Auto. The license plate, called the Rplate, features a tablet-like design with display technology similar to e-readers. The display ensures the sun does not make the plates illegible.
It's not as simple as unscrewing old metal stamped plates and mounting the new digital tablet-style ones, however. The Rplate requires a constant power source to keep the battery charged and to ensure its GPS function works properly. YouTube features a couple of shops in California pitching themselves as the best place to have the new plates installed, which can take as long as three hours depending on the type of vehicle and from where a technician needs to route power.
If the added complexity and cost isn't a problem, the Rplate does promise a few neat features. For starters, owners can digitally renew their stickers and registration, which cuts out a trip to a local motor vehicles agency. Drivers can also select a few approved designs to express themselves somewhat. GPS monitoring can also geo-fence fleet vehicles to let fleet managers know if a vehicle has exited its target zone.
In the future, the plates will be able to show expired tags with an X where the sticker normally resides, display Amber Alerts, display if a car has been reported stolen, provide weather updates, and even serve up advertisements. It's unclear if owners will be able to opt in or out of the ads Reviver Auto said the plates are capable of displaying, however.
The state's announcement didn't include pricing, but the digital plates will be available at participating retailers—not through the Motor Vehicle Services Department.