Digital Number Plate Ads Could Drive Recovery


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Cash-strapped US state California is considering the introduction of digital adverts on vehicle number plates to pay off its deficit.


The state says it doesn't want to turn cars into mobile billboards

A bill allowing the states to research the new device is being considered as it struggles to raise revenues.

The California government, led by Arnold Swarzenegger, is facing a $19bn deficit.

The electronic device would look like a normal number plate when the vehicle is moving but would switch to digital adverts when it has stopped for more than four seconds, in traffic or at a red light.

However, the license plate number will remain visible on the plate at all times.

It could also be used to broadcast traffic information or Amber Alerts to the public.

The bill's author, Democratic Senator Curren Price of Los Angeles, said California would be the first state to implement such technology if the state Department of Motor Vehicles ultimately recommends the widespread use of the plates.

He said: "It's an exciting marriage of technology with need, and an opportunity to keep California in the forefront."

Other US states are belived to be exploring something similar.

San Francisco-based firm Smart Plate is developing the electronic plate but is not believed to have reached the production stage yet.

The company's chief executive Conrad Jordan said he envisioned the number plates as not just another advertising venue, but as a way to display personalised messages such as broadcasting the driver's allegiance to a sports team.

"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 organisations," he said.