Ever look at something and think, "Who the heck thought this was a good idea?" No? Well, you're about to. General Motors' Chinese research and development division has come up with a new Android app that will allow people to scan license plates and send messages to the vehicle's owner, regardless of whether the other driver has downloaded the app.

It's called DiDi Plate, and aside from the privacy concerns (which, we know, don't mean a lot in the People's Republic), the potential for abuse here is huge. Drivers could be easily harassed, whether they deserve to be or not, while we can imagine a cottage advertising industry popping up, with people that simply scan plates and send messages to drivers on behalf of local businesses.

The most obvious issue we see, though, is that this system actively encourages texting while driving. We aren't sure of the stats in China, but texting and driving remains an enormous problem in the US. It seems patently irresponsible for a company to launch an app that encourages such behavior. Of course, the app will also be compatible with Google Glass, although the jury is still out on whether that's any better than using a smartphone when behind the wheel.

We're attempting to get in touch with the app's creator, John Du, at GM. As soon as we hear back, we'll be sure to update this post.

Until then, head into Comments and let us know what you think of DiDi Plate.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 59 Comments
      Chris
      • 6 Months Ago
      Stalkers and creeps rejoice... This whole thing sounds like an idea out of a bad horror movie. I can just picture a car full of punk kids trying to "holla" at some random hottie going down the road minding her own business, or some gruff, middle aged construction worker in a beat up old van using this to try to convince some attractive young mother to pull over so he can fix her burned out taillight while her kids sit scared in the back seat as she tries to get away from him. Bad idea...
        mylexicon
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Chris
        Lewd texts go to her father, since the car is registered in his name. Awesome :/
      b.rn
      • 6 Months Ago
      Completely illegal where I live for at least two reasons: 1. Driver/Owner information associated with a plate is non-public data. 2. Texting and driving is illegal.
        david.bergman1
        • 6 Months Ago
        @b.rn
        Seriously, we have a presumption of privacy in our driver/owner information and I don't want anybody being able to access that info who isn't with law enforcement without my permission.
      Quen47
      • 6 Months Ago
      Maybe China should just replace license plates with the owner's phone number and address.
        1454
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Quen47
        Bet that would make the roads slightly safer.
          Chris
          • 6 Months Ago
          @1454
          Or not. It might make some think twice about driving like a jerk, but it also would encourage more distracted driving. Think of the dumb dumb looking at his phone and everything else but the road as he looks for someone to start up a conversation with, or yell at for whatever reason.
          1454
          • 6 Months Ago
          @1454
          You have a point. I just mean it might add some accountability since there is no "anonymity" to hide behind. You are probably right though.
      jdhegnes
      • 6 Months Ago
      When you get in touch with the dimwitted John Du, please publish his email address and cell phone number, so everyone can share the "fruits of his efforts" with him....every day....for the rest of his life. Everyone says that gm will come to their senses, and not take this to market. But then, they have a track record of bad decisions that rivals this president and congress. And, they apparently pay John Du to come up with this nonsense.
      Avinash Machado
      • 6 Months Ago
      Not a good idea.
      Adrian Hosein
      • 6 Months Ago
      GM, leading the way to new road rage tech!! Go GM! GO, straight off a cliff :D
      aloll
      • 6 Months Ago
      hahah so no matter how many times you change your number the person can send as many messages to you in your sleep, work, or vacation? Oh wait, harass you and stalk you? " I Know Where You Drove Last Summer" , Joy Ride's "Hello, Candy Cane!!!" or Jim Carry's the "Wireless Tow Cable Guy".
      Lachmund
      • 6 Months Ago
      They can't be serious, can they?!
      Brian P
      • 6 Months Ago
      All I want is the ability to point something towards another car and have it speak something pre-programmed over that car's stereo system. "Thanks for not signalling" "Thanks for taking forever to do that" "Speed up, or move over" etc. :-)
        Humberto Yi
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Brian P
        80% of drivers feel they are above average drivers... It's always easy in life to point the finger at the other person because we're perfect
      Bavarian818
      • 6 Months Ago
      FAIL!!!
      VERTIGO
      • 6 Months Ago
      How would this work if the DMV doesn't know your cell phone # ?
      Finn
      • 6 Months Ago
      Stupid, dumber than dumb, idea. Just who comes up with this crap? We are talking about China after all, but the idea still is worthless.
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