Vehicle registration plates as we know them may soon become a thing of the past, as the idea of electronic license plates becomes more and more realistic. There is the example of the Tennessee Government that now allows drivers to renew their licenses at special iPad terminals, by using an app on their iPads, which allows them to complete all the required forms and submit them electronically, without having to go to the DMV, and now it seems that South Carolina is looking to replace the existing metal license plates, with electronic plates that would be updated by the DMV with information about an expired driver’s license, among other things.
These electronic license plates are developed by the Compliance Innovations, and are powered by electricity that is generated through a car’s vibrations that are created while it’s moving, and by solar energy that is collected by a thin solar panel that is attached on the top of the plate. The DMV can control the plates, and broadcast messages on them. The plates have displays on them, that can show words like “Uninsured”, or “Suspended” for people who are driving with a suspended driver’s license, as well as “Stolen”, if the car you are driving has been reported as stolen. This way, law enforcement agencies will be able to track down stolen cars more easily, as well as people driving with suspended licenses, and take them off the streets as soon as possible.
As far as the issue of privacy invasion, the company claims that people shouldn’t be worried about that, as state authorities would have to provide the DMV, the driver, as well as the company itself, with a court order, which means the government won’t be able to monitor drivers’ movements whenever it wants and use the data for other purposes. These plates will be more expensive than today’s conventional license plates, but they shouldn’t cost more than a $100.