Within today’s digital revolution, innovative technologies installed in cars, on cars, and on the road are simplifying and enhancing consumers’ travel experiences. Consumers see examples of digital solutions to transportation infrastructure bottlenecks in the gradual elimination of most toll booths across the United States as states have opted to install transponder and camera based systems that bill a vehicle accordingly, eliminating the need to staff tollbooths and for vehicles to stop at them. This is just one example of technology saving everyone time and money through a few small infrastructure changes.
So what’s the next frontier for making operating and maintaining a vehicle that much easier? Digital license plates. Many would pause at this thought due to the current cost of mounting small screens to the backs of cars, especially given that there are 280 million cars registered in the US today. But this technology, like all technologies that become standard, will grow in appeal as the cost decreases and the benefit to the consumer increases.
Digital license plates offer multiple appealing benefits for both drivers and departments of transportation. Digital plates could eliminate the need for documents or machines separate from the vehicles, such as registration and insurance, toll transponders, and parking pay stations in public lots. As for law enforcement, digital plates would make it much easier to track stolen vehicles and to successfully employ Amber Alerts.
Digital plates are already legal and in use in Arizona, California, and Michigan. Like any device connected to the outside world, the consumer’s data (such as address, insurance policy, and registration) that digital plates store will have to be secured. The concern will have to be addressed as the plates become standard.
Nonetheless, as they are integrated into systems across the country in the coming years, the benefits of digital plates to consumers and law enforcement stand to outweigh the cost and security concerns.
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