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by David Zalstein

Electronic licence plates could soon find their way onto the back of cars in the US.

Created by a South Carolina company called Compliance Innovation, the electronic plates use technology dubbed ‘electronic paper’, similar to that used for digital e-readers like the Kindle, to display a normal-looking licence plate.

The licence plates would also be capable of dynamically displaying words like ‘Stolen’, ‘Suspended’ or ‘Uninsured’ to alert police and other road users to the vehicle’s status. The plates’ designers say warning messages could also be made to light up in bright red or even made to flash.

Electronic Licence Plate - 2

To be used on cars and trucks, the electronic plates would be linked to America’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) via a wireless network connection, though, the government department could not use the plates for tracking purposes.

Power for the plates comes from either a solar film over the plate itself or can be generated kinetically by the vehicle’s own vibrations. With the ‘normal’ image requiring no power to maintain its display, however, power would only be required when the plate changed its display to an alert status.

A pilot program to use the futuristic plates on state-owned vehicles in South Carolina has been proposed and is being considered.