Digital license plates have been issued in California and Arizona since 2019; now they are also licensed in Michigan, but not yet sold. At a starting price of nearly $500 per plate with $55 a year of connectivity, there are just 3,300 people in California and Arizona. The company that produced the plates, Reviver, is in talks with 11 other states, including Michigan. In the second quarter of next year, Reviver plans to begin selling its digital license plates in Michigan. Boston, 49, formed the company in 2009 and began to devise ways to make the license plate more practical than its current metal version, which it sees as the path of leaded fuel and eventually internal combustion engines instead of battery-powered cars.
Boston’s initial concept was to simplify the vehicle registration process, but he soon realized that making a vehicle platform attached to the license plate would open up other applications. He was influenced by the evolution of the mobile phone.
“Think about the cell phone. We all initially had flip phones and all you used it for was to talk,” Boston said. “Now think of what you do with your phone: You pay bills on it, email on it, you do research on it, it connects to your smartwatch, you can check your vitals on it and you also talk on it. I think of the license plate the same way.”USATODAY
Plates view computer-generated imagery using technology similar to an e-reading tablet.
Reviver is selling two digital license plates. The basic plate, which is powered by the battery, is called the Rplate. It uses Bluetooth networking, and the battery will last for five years, Boston said. The Rplate allows the renewal of electronic vehicle registration, removing the need for stickers or visits to the Secretary of State. It can also display pre-approved banner messages such as amber or silver warnings, and of course there is a pre-approved customized message that the owner can display using the app.
The other plate is called the Pro Plate. It could do the same things as the Rplate and more. Usually fleet customers are interested in this model, Boston said. It has GPS and provides telematics such as vehicle miles travelled, speed monitoring, geofencing to track and control the geographical limits of vehicles, as well as a range of safety and security features. One is a warning that would be sent to the owner of the car if there was a tampering.
The driver uses an encrypted app to renew the registration form. The Rplate Pro will tell the driver where the car is parked or whether anyone has driven the car beyond the pre-selected radius of the driver. Plates will also show the term “stolen” until the owner has reported the stolen car to the police. Boston also said custom data is secure and that the company never shares data with the state or any third party. He said that Reviver uses the same security principles that banks use to secure online hacking services. Plus, users can turn the location data off at any time.
“Everything is encrypted end to end,” Boston said. “Think about our platform as being like online banking; it’s absolute safe and protecting everyone’s data.”USATODAY