Imagine knowing your car will tell the world if a thief steals your car and never having to go to the DMV or any motor vehicle department to change a license plate. Well to answer your prayers, a small company in South Carolina in the United States is currently working to introduce electronic license plates.
These electronic license plates or E-plates as I like to call them, are generally easy to use and understand as they use an electrophoretic display aka the same display used in the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-book readers.
Given the comparison, we may now have a hint as to how this technology would work with the license plates. Electrophoretic displays use ‘E Ink’, which is indeed a brand name and not the technical term for the product.
Nonetheless, E Ink has a multitude of benefits for this sort of contraption especially for a product such as electronic license plates. First and foremost for all the environmentalists out there, E Ink has ultra-low power consumption with pretty sharp resolution.
Another environmental benefit is that this display will gather kinetic energy when driving or moving the vehicle or through solar energy, so it’s all natural indeed. And the fun does not stop there; as I have mentioned before, the license plate can potentially display when necessary, the word “STOLEN” or “UNINSURED” or other useful words to help car-owners of the future.
Essentially, the word is displayed if you choose to display the warning on your license plate via a smartphone and an included wireless connection to warn other drivers of any danger.
And once again the fun does not stop there, well in this case the worry. Given the fairly recent unveiling of the PRISM story by Edward Snowden, privacy may indeed be a great obstacle for these E-plates.
Drivers fear being tracked by the DMV even though this government-owned entity denies the authenticity of such an accusation stating at least three court orders would be necessary before tracking becomes apparent.
Even though this idea is still in the proposal stage, it is a possibility and I see it as having greater benefits at minimal costs to the consumer, but as always time will tell.