Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan’s Department of State to pass the bill. Vehicle owners aren’t required to adopt the new technology at this time; for now, digital plates are optional.

The Rplate, which must be installed by an authorized dealer, will be available in Spring 2019 in two versions: Rplate Essential and Rplate Pro. Both models include LTE connectivity, backlit HD displays, plate customization, and personalized messages. The Rplate Pro also supports “advanced telematics.”

The digital license plates won’t be cheap, at least not at first. The Rplate Essential and Rplate Pro are available for preorder on Reviver’s website for $499 and $799, respectively, not including installation charges.

So what are the advantages of a digital license plate other than early-adopter bragging rights? On the most mundane level, the Rplate can automate vehicle registration renewals. You won’t have to affix a new peel-and-stick decal on your plate each year because digital decals on the plate will show the world whether you’re current.

In most states today, personalized metal license plates, also called vanity plates, are restricted to the plate’s letters and digits plus, in fewer cases, a choice of backgrounds that usually have something to do with the state in which the vehicle is registered.

With the Rplate, you’ll be able to take personalization to new levels. According to Reviver, customization possibilities include promoting your favorite charity, declaring your passion for a sports team, or announcing a child’s academic or athletic prowess. It’s not clear at this time how often vehicle owners will be able to change the custom messages or if any measures will exist to screen or censor messages.

Further standard Rplate supported features include plate removal and stolen vehicle information. Built-in GPS via the LTE technology will enable geo-fencing to track government or business vehicles. In the future Reviver intends to update the platform to support Amber and weather alerts, automated parking, and various marketing capabilities.

Michigan isn’t the first state to allow digital license plates. California approved the high tech replacements for stamped metal plates in 2018. According to Reviver, the Rplate is fully approved in Arizona and enabling legislation has passed in Texas and Florida. Washington state will also study Rplate technology and the concept of digital license plates ,and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority and Reviver are conducting a proof of concept program in the UAE.

Smart Home

Grocery shopping wreaks greater havoc on the environment than meal kits

A study by the University of Michigan showed meal kits cause less environmental damage than meals from grocery store ingredients. According to the U-M researchers, grocery store meals produced more greenhouse gas emissions than meal kits.

Lenovo’s Yoga C930 sale drops a $650 discount on its 2TB SSD laptop

Lenovo is offering one of its 2-in-1 laptops at a $650 discount. This Lenovo Yoga C930 laptop comes with a 2TB solid-state drive, a digital pen, a fingerprint reader, and a Dolby Atmos sound bar.

2019 Audi TT RS gets subtle cosmetic surgery ahead of its trip to the Big Apple

The 2019 Audi TT RS gets a minor face-lift, but it keeps its signature turbocharged inline-five engine. The updated TT RS makes its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show.

Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that’s coming to the U.S.

The Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that will be marketed in the United States by California-based Mullen Technologies. The carbon-fiber bodied, 402-horsepower K50 is expected to go on sale in 2020.

Where to go when your EV is low: Rich neighborhoods have most charging stations

If you're running low on juice in your electric vehicle, head for the rich part of town. A survey by Realtor.com found median home list prices in the 20 U.S. ZIP codes with the most EV charging stations were 2.6 times the national average.

Ford is keeping hackers out of its cars by putting key fobs to sleep

Ford found a way to stop thieves who try to hack their way into a car by duplicating its key fob. It developed a smart key fob that puts itself to sleep when it's idle for at least 40 seconds. It automatically wakes up when someone picks it…
Product Review

BMW’s smallest M car is its biggest performance statement

The BMW M2 Competition is frighteningly quick in a straight line, and its short wheelbase lends itself to some hilarious power slides, but it’s the curvy roads and tight tracks where this coupe comes alive.

This vintage Ford Bronco off-roader has a modern electric powertrain

Zero Labs took a classic Ford Bronco and replaced its gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. So you get the style and off-road capability of a Bronco, but with zero emissions.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

Today on Digital Trends Live, we discuss how technology intersects with Earth Day, a new Tim Cook biography, indoor container farming, robot spy submarines, A.I. death metal, and more.

Tesla will have ‘autonomous robotaxis’ in 2020, Elon Musk says

Tesla will deploy self-driving cars in a "robotaxi" service in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said at the automaker's Autonomy Investor Day. Musk has promised autonomous Tesla electric cars before, but will he finally deliver this time?

Startup Smartcar accuses bigger rival Otonomo of stealing intellectual property

California-based startup Smartcar claims its intellectual property was stolen by a much bigger (and better-funded) rival named Otonomo. Otonomo hasn't given its side of the story yet.

2020 Nissan 370Z Special Edition celebrates 50 Years of the Z car

Nissan is celebrating 50 years of its iconic "Z car" with a special edition of the 2020 370Z. The 50th-anniversary model is dressed to look like a 1970s race car, but remains technically unchanged.

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.