IP License Plates

By John Honovich, Published Jun 01, 2018, 09:08am EDT

IP cameras, IP speakers, IP toasters... IP license plates?

The next generation of license plates is making mainstream news, being called 'digital' and 'smart'. One thing they certainly are is networked as these license plates will be connected to the cloud for remote update and management.

Here is a news video that overviews the plates:

What impact might this have for the security market and for license plate recognition? We examine in this note.

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Vote / ****

Comments (24)

One large potential security benefit is being able to know and report the real-time positioning of cars. This could be then used for responding to emergencies or more broadly tracking suspects or wanted individuals.

Or selling the data to repo agencies. Or tracking someone down over an unpaid parking ticket, past-due water bill, or who knows what else.

I didn't love the OnStar system in my GM vehicle, due to the ability for misuse, but was kind of OK with it because it was the vehicle manufacturer, not a government agency. Not a fan of installing any kind of device with live-tracking capabilities that is administered by fed/state/local governments.

Hard pass.

Feel the same way about your smart phone?

Strap a $700 tablet on one of the most vulnerable spots of your car.  What could possibly go wrong?  I don't think people realize how many times your car gets bumped/tapped/scraped in parking lots and in every day life. 

Great, something else to be hacked and something else to raise costs.


and now for some technology nobody asked for...

Alexa... find my car

I'm in if it integrates with my Mr. Microphone

I don't see any issues with a $700.00, hack-able, license plate at all.

If you can track these remotely do you even need ALPR anymore.

For those who are given real-time access to such positioning information, yes. Who, if anyone, gets them remains to be seen.

Wait! X2? How many States require a front plate also.

OH. What about all those vehicles towing with ding in the plate from trailer hitch bouncing into them when hooking up.

Yada yada yada

Seems like an easy way to get off the grid.  Smash your IP Plate and claim it was a parking lot error/etc.


You may not even need smash it yourself...I imagine kids will do it for sport, like hood ornament hunting.

And now you've destroyed state property of over $500 value, as well....

How long until someone rails against 'all the lost jobs in the prison plate-shop' because of this?

What could possibly go wrong it is brought to you by the Government. They have a stellar track record with projects like this!

Maybe if I could get paid to advertise on it, like youtube ads.

Among other things I work closely with LPR systems in my current job and seems everything the IP license plate purports to offer LPR can essentially already do - stolens, uninsureds, vehicle description, etc - all without the unnecessary steps of the IP solution, including the potential damage it could easily incur.

Nifty idea on the surface until you drill down into the practical layers. That said, I am never one to trash any novel ideas. Keep them coming, that's how we progress.


Excellent initiative. Like any other new technology, it may have few glitches during first version of implementation. But it shall be extremely useful once it reaches maturity level.

And a bunch of other problems...

Over burden cellular systems in traffic jamb events
Battery drain on parked vehicles
Use a lot of tablet raw materials, rare earths run out quicker
Will attract more roadkill bugs & critters
Unreadable in bright sunlight
Very likely deficient on older vehicles - those more likely to be queried
Software 'updates' crashing the entire fleet
Bright/dark pixels reducing clarity
Trashed by lightening/flooding/rain/hail/high temperatures/ice/stones/fire
Useless just after an accident, when they are most needed
EMF pollution (like smart meters)
Unsuited to junk yard 'collectors'

They seem to be against every design principle of 'real' licence plates

Cost effective

Impressive analysis. 

On environmental damage, there are merits in avoiding such electronic gadgets. 

While 5G will take care of the cellular coverage, it may be better idea to add some intelligence in the car itself or the number plate by adding some chip. This may provide location (current and history), vehicle ownership, speed etc in much efficient way than how we get it today.

I agree with your design principle critique, and most of your points but I do have some contrasting thoughts as well, mostly related to the plate displays being e-ink screens. They will have very low battery drain, low EMF pollution (albeit more than a standard plate), should be readable in bright sunlight, and shouldn't attract more roadkill bugs/critters than a standard plate.


Finally I can change the default:


I'm sure these will work great at -30C in the northern states and Canada.

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