Columbia inventors take on low-tech license plates with high-tec - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Inventors: Digital license plates could save millions

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia inventors want to update one of the oldest forms of identification still in use: the license plate. They want to digitize them and think their invention could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid registration fees.

"It's the only thing in the automobile industry that hasn't changed," said Brian Bannister.

The Columbia-based startup called Compliance Innovations is behind the initiative.

The displays can be altered from afar, meaning a suspended license or expired tag would be plain to see for police. Amber Alert vehicles could be flagged as well.

Like your e-reader, they're power efficient and could actually recharge with the vibrations of your ride.

Co-founder David Findlay says a DMV job years ago showed him just how much the state misses out on with unregistered vehicles

"There are some states that are doing away with the month and year decal because it's a joke. Nobody sees it. Nobody notices it," said Findlay.

The guys have broken it down they think they can save the state hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But their new plates have a way to go.

Like the original, Findlay says their product is nearly indestructible, but they still need to get the price down to around $100 per plate before high-tech comes to your tailgate.

"We have advancements in registration systems, drivers licenses and security. This is the only thing that hasn't caught up to the 21st century," said Bannister.

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