Arizona is the latest state trying to phase out old-fashioned metal license plates in favor of digital ones.
After more than a year of testing, the state has authorized digital license plates to officially be an option for drivers. Drivers can purchase them through startup Reviver Auto, starting at $499, with an upgraded version for $799.
Experts say the pricey plates could revolutionalize the driving experience — but critics say it raises privacy concerns.
ADOT and Reviver Auto are hoping the new technology will help cut wait times at Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division locations since motorists would no longer have to wait in line to renew their registration.
“The license plate hadn’t been updated in over 125 years so it was ripe for disruption,” said Reviver Auto CEO Neville Boston.
The digital plates essentially function the same as the metal plates. They’re roughly the same size and are installed in the same spot in the back of vehicles, using wireless LTE technology. The technology will automatically register the vehicle with digital decals and can personalize the plate with different digital designs, including promoting charitable causes or the driver’s favorite sports team.
“It works off of the cell phone network, so it’s constantly refreshing information as you’re in an area of cell phone service,” said Arizona Department of Transpiration spokesman Doug Nick. “If you happen to get out of an area of cell phone service, it will default to the standard driver’s license plate, so it never goes dark.”
The plates also could display public emergency notifications, like Amber Alerts or Silver Alerts. It can also display “Stolen” on the bottom of the plate if the owner’s car has been stolen.
The digital license plates are also available in California and Michigan, with plans in the works to roll out the technology in Texas, Florida, Washington, and internationally in Canada and Dubai.