Michigan drivers now have the option of adorning their cars with digital license plates, which can locate lost vehicles and receive public safety alerts — for a fee. Reviver, the maker of the connected plates, that Michigan residents and businesses can now purchase the device (known as the RPlate) online. Consumers can choose between two models: a battery-powered plate and a hard-wired plate that includes GPS. The plates have been available for sale in California and Arizona, and the company is aiming to make them available nationwide.
But what exactly is a digital license plate? The RPlate is essentially a license plate with an HD display and LTE connectivity (as well as GPS for the hard-wired model) that includes a number of security and personalization features. Drivers can switch between dark and light modes and select personalized messages to appear at the bottom. The GPS-enabled plate also includes telematic transponders, so it can locate a lost or stolen vehicle and send alerts to your smartphone if it detects suspicious movement. There’s a companion mobile app that allows drivers to track mileage and renew their vehicle registration online.
Reviver's digital plate also includes a couple of security features that could be overkill for some. For example, there’s a “Valet Parking” mode that lets you monitor your car remotely while it is being parked by a valet attendant and a geofencing option for family members or employees who drive the car that sends alerts if they violate the travel boundaries.
The digital license plates don’t come cheap. Both models require a subscription ($19.95 per month for battery-powered and $24.95 per month for hard-wired) and cost an additional $150 if you elect to have a professional install the plate. The company is also working on a number of new features, including integration with toll roads, parking meters and additional DMV services.