A new digital licence plate on display at the Detroit auto show might move the traditional way of labelling cars into the 21st century.

San Francisco-based Reviver is at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit showing off the rPlate. 

The digital licence plate can change its messaging based on where a car is located, along with displaying emergency messages or manufacturer recalls on its display, designers say.  It can also show advertisements based on your location.

Of course, it still provides the main function of displaying your licence plate number, said Reviver CEO Neville Boston.

"When the vehicle's in motion, all you see is the license plate, but when it's stopped and legally parked, you're able to show various messaging," he explained.

The company expects digital licence plates such as the rPlate to help automate vehicle registration as well.

Prototypes of the digital licence plates are already on the road in California. Reviver hopes to also have them on the road in Florida, Arizona and Texas by the end of 2017.