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South Carolina explores electronic license plates

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(Read caption) Traffic stacks up on a highway in Dallas. Could an electronic license plate be coming to a car near you?

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South Carolina is looking to inject a fresh bit of technology into the automotive world, and it's arriving in a rather unexpected form. The state is exploring the idea of introducing electronic license plates. A company called Compliance Innovations has developed such a plate utilizing ePaper technology similar to what's used on devices like the Kindle. The reason behind a state-led desire to switch to such a plate becomes clear when you realize what could be displayed on such a license plate.

The display would appear just like a normal plate when the motorist is driving with insurance and up-to-date registration. If that changes, however, the tags could display messages that would alert officials to an issue. The word "UNINSURED", "SUSPENDED", or "EXPIRED" could flash on the electronic plate. Additionally, the plate can display an Amber Alert message or Stolen if the owner discovers his car isn't where he or she left it. 

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It's certainly a compelling idea that could be worth looking in to. However, in these days of NSA spying and the ability to hack pretty much everything, perhaps an electronic license plate won't be seen as an ideal solution for the average motorist. Still, it would be a pretty cool update on a piece of the automobile that's remained pretty much unchanged since its introduction.