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California may be first to get electronic license plates

By Shawn Knight · 43 replies
Sep 9, 2013
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  1. The California State Senate recently approved a bill that will allow residents to be the first in the nation to own electronic license plates. The bill, which has already passed the state’s assembly, now only needs approval from Governor Jerry...

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  2. RenGood08

    RenGood08 TS Booster Posts: 183   +13

    Wow...this would be pretty cool. But so many flaws in this kinda logic. Just one more thing for our mad hatter hackers to find a way around the system. They better have some high security values for this!
    sameh_riad likes this.
  3. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,696   +427

    If you look at the number of road traffic accidents in a year, that's a hell of a lot of smashed up electronic licence plates. A lot more expensive to replace than standard ones I bet.
    St1ckM4n and 9Nails like this.
  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    Who goes to the DMV to renew plates? Just mail in your check and you get your sticker back in the mail. The only time I need to jump through hoops for registration is to do emissions tests, and fancy plates won't help with that.

    Still sounds like a cool idea, but would it have to be wired into the car for power? I'd hate to get pulled over because my license plate battery died.
  5. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    "The digital version could allow the plate to receive updates wirelessly when it comes time to renew the plate ? effectively eliminating a visit to the local vehicle registration center each year."

    I don't know how they do it in California, but in Virginia we already don't have to go to the DMV to renew our registrations. Get an emissions test, pay online, get new stickers in the mail.
  6. Not for me. Yet another way for Big Brother to track you anywhere you go. Recent events in the news show there is not enough trust available to even tip-toe into this direction.

    Roger Wilco
    p51d007 likes this.
  7. Not sure I'd want an electronic plate on my car. Too many ways for one to get broken and cause trouble.
  8. fimbles

    fimbles TS Evangelist Posts: 1,194   +209

    Hack it to "BADASS" "
    RenGood08 likes this.
  9. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Evangelist Posts: 565   +323

    Who is going to pay for this? The car manufacturers? I would like to see more details as to how its installed and powered.

    I currently don't have a front license plate, sure its the law, but no one pulls you over for not having it. I would be pretty unhappy to have to drill holes in the car to power this stupid idea for a license plate.

    Not to mention the opportunity to change your plates on the fly once someone figures that out. Honestly this is a waste of taxpayer money, you already have a damn camera on your car that captures and reads the license plates, what good does a digital one do for you other than cost the state and in turn its citizens more $$.

    Being able to recognize a stole or expired registration does not help YOU.....but it will COST you.
  10. Make it read as "stolen" to aid law enforcement? hilarious
    just pull the plate off, swap it with an out of state plate that isnt electronic like everyone else already does, problem solved and law enforcement thwarted yet again.
  11. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    Lol, funny you mention front plates. I actually have a different plate on the front than I do on the back. My back one fell off (or was stolen) and I never put the new one on the front. Been like that for about 18 months now, and no one's noticed.

    I'm usually on the side of 'Don't spend extra money', but how much would these really cost? Electronics are pretty cheap nowadays and this would be a pretty simple device.

    Many drivers are already tracked because of their RFID toll paying devices like iPass etc. The rest are tracked anonymously because their cell phones give off signals. It helps with traffic reports.

    What will be annoying is having someone take the batteries out of your plate to put in theirs. That'll get old real fast.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    I want one of those James Bond type plates... You know, the ones that can change all the details at the push of a button, then I can go screaming along the highway at 200 mph in my beat up jalopy ignoring the radar camera's. :)
  13. No thanks.
    If the government can wirelessly access my car, then they can also track me. They log where I've been, and how long it took me to drive there. Only a matter of time before E-Plate owners get a bill in the mail for a drive to work taking 5 minutes less than speed limits allow or a bill for parking in a no parking zone, or exceeding parking time limits. But of course, that comes after cross referencing every stop you've ever made with the NSA's database, and sending someone from the DHS to interview you.
  14. Renrew

    Renrew TS Enthusiast Posts: 253   +19

    No thanks.

    Another Land of the Lost bureaucratic boondoggle.
  15. It is true that they will want to track you and possibly charge you for getting to work in impossible legal times. It is more bullshit. The technological age is a blessing for this fat cats. It protects their capitalistic ways. And see, you say no thanks. As would be your right... but you have no rights when it comes to what they want you to do, and so they will make a law within which, you may not drive without it. So. Now what ? Black market plates ? Or overthrow the governments of the world who have not your best interests at heart at all.

    You are under the illusion people that you are free. You are slaves.

    But on another not. WTF is with actually having to renew plates each year ? What purpose does that serve ? Whats the UK equivalent of this if any?
  16. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 2,235   +1,428

    Sounds like Shawn just needed a reason to post a pic of his car :p
  17. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,467   +500

    This is one of those typical new electronics situations... Sounds great on paper, easy to justify in theory, but real-world considerations like actual practical application and the potentials for abuse just never seem to cloud the judgement of those people who come up with the concepts... It's usually either a case of some intensely polarized rose-colored glasses not letting the idealists see the down sides, or there are some nefarious plans behind the concept that are purposely buried by glossing over the negatives when presented to the public. These days, it's usually hard to tell.
  18. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,924   +712

    Power, very easy, just wire it in to the license plate lights which all cars have and are on all the time when the car is running, I live someplace where we only have rear plates so solves the problem here, not sure about the front plate, but that wouldn't be hard either considering the cars battery is usually a couple feet away under the hood. This then raises the question, what about when the car is parked? A rechargeable will only last so long. The "stolen" or "expired" message would be redundant because its a wireless plate, if a cop drove by within a hundred feet he would know and be able to locate the vehicle like a homing beacon. This could also work if the plate has been tampered with, so irrelevant of what the plate says the cops are going to know somethings up without having to make eye contact with the plate. Price to have this on a new vehicle would be invisible, IE included in the price, or when transferring ownership it would just be included in the tax somewhere. Not like a board with a series of 7 segment displays will cost that much to make in mass quantities. And why are people co concerned about being tracked, unless your doing something illegal you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Besides, this plate will only be adding to the already present cell phone and in car gps, laptop, tablet, ect. If you don't want to be tracked remove all your electronic devices and walk or bike.
  19. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    What they should do just have universal bar code plate with white background and barcode in black. This plate would come from the dealer when you buy a new vehicle. He would be designed for your vehicle only.

    Police or Sheriff departments would have built-in scanners in the front of patrol vehicles to scan ever plate for issues if deem so. Scanners could be placed at every traffic light. This type of system would be better and no need to have each state have their own name plates. Should be just called United States Resident.




    No more vanity plates would be outlawed.
  20. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    I dont mind this. This could take away some of the drag introduced through the use of license plates.
  21. Scavengers

    Scavengers TS Booster Posts: 110   +21

    Oh hell Mike who uses checks anymore?
    I just log on to the DOT site here in PA and renew online.
    I print out a new, temporary owners card and my sticker comes in about 5 days.

  22. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,964   +1,229

    Sorry, not on my car as long as I can keep it off. Plus, if the day comes that they do this, I'm wrapping foil around it in an attempt to keep the tracking off of it. Oh, but you are paranoid...what have you got to hide? Sorry, just because I"m NOT doing anything illegal, is no reason they can VIOLATE my constitutional rights of free travel in the USA. How many more years do we have left, before you have to show your papers when you drive around?
  23. No, it's not. We just have to perform basic tests to determine the negatives:

    Did the idea originate in government? If yes, it will be horribly ineffective and create an unknown number new problems.

    Did the idea originate in a corporate setting? If yes, there will be a nefarious endgame.

    Was the idea a collaboration between these two groups? If yes, it will be disastrous but incredibly lucrative.

  24. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,467   +500

    So, what you are saying is, it's either a Lose, Lose, or Lose/Lose scenario? :)

  25. Pretty much. There is a silver lining, though. If it's a collaborative idea you can park money in the stock of whatever companies the bill's authors wind up consulting for.

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