I definitely feel that one thing missing from any traffic jam is Internet Shock Porn.

The next frontier in distracted driving is already approaching -- ad-blaring license plates.
The device would mimic a standard license plate when the vehicle is in motion but would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds, whether in traffic or at a red light.

In emergencies, the plates could be used to broadcast Amber Alerts or traffic information.

Oooh, the Amber Alert card! Well played, sir! Because if we can save just one child, won't it all have been worth it?

Interested advertisers would contract directly with the DMV, thus opening a new revenue stream for the state, Price said.

Jordan said he envisioned the license plates as not just another advertising venue, but as a way to display personalized messages -- broadcasting the driver's allegiance to a sports team or an alma mater, for example.

"The idea is not to turn a motorist's vehicle into a mobile billboard, but rather to create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations," he said.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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13 Responses:

  1. pavel_lishin says:

    Well, allegedly these would only play when the vehicle was stopped for 4+ seconds, so it's not like you'd be driving down the highway, tailgating a guy so you can see the huge dick waving on his plates.

    I wonder what the approval process for the ads are, and what sort of security holes there will be. I can imagine riots breaking out if someone manages to squeeze a "I HATE NIGGERS" into the stream.

  2. c0nsumer says:

    I suspect the simple question of liability for inoperable license plates will nullify this.

    • gryazi says:

      No, see, they have to be a self-contained module, so they have to have GPS in them to tell if they're moving or stopped! And they need two-way communications to retrieve the ads and return diagnostics - because you can't see your own plate while moving, so how would you ever know if it breaks?

      Meanwhile, since they'll be acting as billboards when stopped, they'll also contain a long-range RFID transponder for ease of ticketing the illegally-parked (cross-referenced to your VIN and the UUIDs of your DOT-mandated tire-pressure sensors, so no stealing your neighbor's).

    • skington says:

      "The license plate number would remain visible at all times in some section of the screen" says a non-quoted part of the article.

      But yeah, no discussion of how you make some rugged, cheap licence plate equivalent that's readable in all light and weather conditions, tamper-proof enough that you couldn't, say, change the ads or personalised border, jam the gyroscope or whatever they're using as a motion detector so it thinks it's stopped all the time, or, for that matter, change the plate number (unless the licence plate number is physically stamped into this replacement electronic thingy, in which case I don't see how they get all the economies of scale they're talking about).

  3. chuck_lw says:

    >The device would mimic a standard license plate when the vehicle is in motion but would switch to digital ads or other messages when it is stopped for more than four seconds, whether in traffic or at a red light.

    This is worse than my prediction about video bumper stickers that display your latest tweet.

    >Oooh, the Amber Alert card! Well played, sir! Because if we can save just one child, won't it all have been worth it?

    How long before some "technical glitch" results in child porn being displayed on the things?

  4. phoenixredux says:

    to create a platform for motorists to show their support for existing good working organizations,"

    Or to give another surface for those pictures of not-Calvin peeing on Chevy or Ford logos. Great. I can hardly wait.

    So the Amber Alert is typically something like "Abducted Child last spotted in a green Chevy Blazer, MN license XYZ-123." Why don't they just make it so that MN XYZ-123 just starts flashing "I MAY BE CARRYING AN ABDUCTED CHILD! PULL ME OVER!" and spare the rest of us from Amber Alert spam?

    Also, I'm pretty sure that current MN motor vehicle laws would prevent deployment of such a device. Your mileage may vary.

  5. baconmonkey says:

    you locked comments on the bilboard trucks post, so comment goes here:

    last week when I was in Vegas, there were clusters of 4 guys walking around wearing billboard backpacks for Hooters. Sadly, I never was able to get a clear photo.

  6. candid says:

    My "standard" license plate has about a million dents in it from parallel parking. I wonder how well the AdPlate will mimic those.

  7. wire_on_fire says:

    My first thought was that it'll be awfully hard to make sure I got the license plate of the person who honked at me while I'm biking to work.

    My second thought was to ask myself why that was a concern. Cops don't care anyway.

  8. lionsphil says:

    Just the plates seems to be thinking too small. Where's the e-ink smart paint?