Calif. license plates might go digital, show ads

Jun 21, 2010 By ROBIN HINDERY , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- 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 bill's author, Democratic Sen. Curren Price of Los Angeles, said California would be the first state to implement such technology if the state Department of Motor Vehicles ultimately recommends the widespread use of the plates. He said other states are exploring something similar.

Interested advertisers would contract directly with the DMV, thus opening a new revenue stream for the state, Price said.

"We're just trying to find creative ways of generating additional revenues," he said. "It's an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront."

At least one company, San Francisco-based Smart Plate, is developing a digital electronic license plate but has not yet reached the production stage. The bill would authorize the DMV to work with Smart Plate or another company to explore the use and safety of electronic license plates.

The company's chief executive, M. Conrad Jordan, said he envisioned the license plates as not just another advertising venue, but as a way to display personalized messages - broadcasting the driver's allegiance to a sports team or an alma mater, for example.

"The idea is not to turn a motorist's vehicle into a mobile billboard, but rather to create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations," he said.

Explore further: Cadillac CT6 will get streaming video mirror

2.5 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Town on SF Bay wants to photograph every car

Jul 20, 2009

(AP) -- Visitors should be prepared to have their pictures taken as they enter and leave this picturesque town of million-dollar views and homes along the San Francisco Bay.

Google to reshoot street views of Japanese cities

May 14, 2009

(AP) -- Google said Wednesday it will reshoot all photos in Japan for its Street View service after residents complained the 360-degree panoramic images provided a view over the fences around their homes.

Recommended for you

Cyclist's helmet, Volvo car to communicate for safety

4 hours ago

Volvo calls it "a wearable life-saving wearable cycling tech concept." The car maker is referring to a connected car and helmet prototype that enables two-way communication between Volvo drivers and cyclists ...

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

4 hours ago

California's Department of Motor Vehicles will miss a year-end deadline to adopt new rules for cars of the future because regulators first have to figure out how they'll know whether "driverless" vehicles ...

Cadillac CT6 will get streaming video mirror

Dec 20, 2014

Cadillac said Thursday it will add high resolution streaming video to the function of a rearview mirror, so that the driver's vision and safety can be enhanced. The technology will debut on the 2016 Cadillac ...

Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones (Update)

Dec 19, 2014

Americans broadly back tight regulations on commercial drone operators, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, as concerns about privacy and safety override the potential benefits of the heralded drone ...

Cheaper, more powerful VR system for engineers

Dec 17, 2014

It's like a scene from a gamer's wildest dreams: 12 high-definition, 55-inch 3D televisions all connected to a computer capable of supporting high-end, graphics-intensive gaming.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gunslingor1
5 / 5 (2) Jun 21, 2010
You gotta be kidding, this is unconstitutional. You can't force people to advertise the products you select and you cannot expect people to hand over advertising revenues for billboards on their freaking cars! Implement it, fine; require it, fine; but the profits go to the owners of the cars, not the state.
ormondotvos
Jun 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
CarolinaScotsman
not rated yet Jun 21, 2010
How much would the electronic plates cost car owners compared to conventional plates? Public support for such ideas goes down as the monetary burden increases.
barakn
1 / 5 (1) Jun 21, 2010
Install a kill switch, then every time you want to do a drive-by shooting just turn off your license plate.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.