Illustration for article titled Is GMs License Plate Texting App Way Too Creepy?

Ever wish you could give that asshat who cut you off on the freeway more than just a honk of your horn? General Motors' Chinese R&D division is working on an app that lets you scan other people's license plates and then send messages to their phones.


Computerworld reports that at the recent Telematics Detroit 2014 conference, John Du, director of GM China's China Science Lab in Shanghai, unveiled a prototype Android app called DiDi Plate. It uses your smartphone's camera to scan a driver's license plate and then send them texts based on that.

One would assume that the other driver has to have this app for the system to work, but Du said that's not the case. He told the audience that "Even if the other driver didn't register this app, you can still give them greetings and comments."


I'm not sure how that will work, exactly, and GM hasn't released much information about the app itself. But Du claims it has several useful functions:

In a video demonstrating the product, a male driver uses DiDi Plate to scan and then message a woman driving in front of him. He asks her for a date, which she quickly accepts.

In another scenario, a woman's car is blocked in a parking lot, so she scans the plate of the car that boxed her in and tells the driver to move the vehicle.

Emphasis mine, because does anyone else think that's kind of, how do I put this... supremely creepy? I can't imagine many women wanting an app that lets them get unsolicited date offers from random men when they're just driving around.

There's also the function that will probably be used most often in real-world situations: telling other people that they're horrible drivers. If you think getting the finger on the road is bad, just wait until you start receiving angry, threatening texts from other drivers.


But I concede the app could have some useful functions, like that parking lot scenario above.

No word yet on whether Du's app will be deployed in China, let alone the rest of the world. He told Computerworld the biggest hurdle is that GM wants its apps embedded in their cars' infotainment systems, not cell phones, so it may never see the light of day. Which is just as well, probably.


Photo credit AP

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