Licence to advertise

Wireless technology that beams advertising onto drivers’ licence plates

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California’s mounting budget shortfall—now US$19 billion—has overtaken highway gridlock, and the smog it generates, as drawbacks to living in the Golden State. But one Democratic senator, Curren Price, thinks he has found a solution via Silicon Valley: wireless technology that beams advertising onto drivers’ licence plates.

Price recently introduced a bill to explore the idea, which could generate badly needed revenue for state coffers. The plates would display regular licence plate information while the car is moving, but would switch to advertisements once the driver comes to a stop for more than four seconds.

San Francisco’s Smart Plate, one of the firms developing the system, has said it envisioned the technology more as way for Californians to express their feelings about favourite sports teams and the like. Either way, it’s a lot less fun than coming up with clever seven-character messages that can be permanently stamped in metal. DEBT H8R anyone?

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