NC FIRST License Plate

Hello teams!

FIRST Team 2655, The Flying Platypi is excited to announce that North Carolina will be the first state to have its own FIRST Robotics vanity license plate! This news has been making its rounds in the FIRST Community and we wanted to set up a place where general questions could be answered. I figure the easiest way to go about this is by creating a CD thread explaining the process the Flying Platypi went though while getting their plate. I’d like to preface all of this by saying we would LOVE to help other teams get vanity plates in their states and we’d be glad to help in anyway possible. North Carolina teams - we would still appreciate your help as we work towards out 300 signature goal! If you’re from North Carolina and are interested in getting a FIRST license plate, please contact me.

During the 2012 off-season, The Flying Platypi began researching the possibility of creating a North Carolina FIRST Robotics license plate. We discovered that while there was a lot of work involved in getting a “vanity plate” it would be completely doable if we started early. We would have to ask FIRST for permission to use their logo on a license plate, design the plate based of the specifications they gave us, get a bill introduced and a law passed by the North Carolina state legislature and signed by our governor approving the plate, and then get signatures and deposits from 300 people agreeing to purchase the FIRST plate before it could be printed and issued.

The Flying Platypi decided that our first step toward getting the plate should
be two-fold: we needed to contact FIRST to ask for approval and we needed to establish a relationship with a local politician to get our bill introduced into the state legislature. This first step is very important as FIRST obviously owns the intellectual property rights to its logo so it can’t be used without permission (this step is also important later). We accomplished both of these things with great results. FIRST gladly gave us permission to use their logo on a license plate and we successfully contacted Sen. Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore of the NC Senate. (Thank you again Senator Berger!)

We met with Sen. Berger and he agreed to assist us in getting our bill drafted, introduced and passed in the NC Senate. We worked closely with his staff to put together the final design that was submitted to the NC Division of Motor Vehicles as part of the bill introduced in the Senate. As part of that process we had to verify that FIRST had given its permission to use the logo (which is why we recommend asking FIRST first).

In January of 2013, the team was invited to demonstrate our robot at the NC Legislature on February 27, 2013 in conjunction and invitation extended to NC FIRST to participate in Tech Day at the Legislature sponsored by the North Carolina Technology Association. After we accepted the invitation, NC FIRST Regional Director Marie Hopper asked us to invite representatives to Tech Day and tell them about the license plate project. We emailed all 119 Representatives in the NC House telling them about FIRST and our license plate as well as inviting them to Tech Day. We received a lot of positive feedback, including emails and calls from representatives who were interested in the project. One representative was so interested in FIRST that he offered to handle to bill for us in the house. This response gave the Platypi a lot of encouragement as we moved forward with the project.

While we were at the Legislature, Senator Berger and his staff visited our table and gave us a metal mock-up of the plate. The Platypi were extremely excited to receive the mock-up and we immediately set to use it to market our project.

On that same day February 27th, 2013 our bill, Senate Bill #143 was submitted to the North Carolina Legislature. The bill entitled NC FIRST Robotics Special Plate is an act to authorize the division of motor vehicles to issue a special registration plate for NC FIRST Robotics. A copy of the bill should be up on in the near future.

For the plate to be manufactured in North Carolina, we must have 300 signatures from people willing to purchase the plate. We are well on our way to reaching that number. While we were at the North Carolina Regional this year, we signed up over 100 interested drivers and we aim to reach our goal this summer. So far, the Platypi have already been approached by multiple teams who are interested in creating a plate in their state.

For every FIRST plate that the DMV sells, The Flying Platypi receives a portion of the purchase price goes to support NC FIRST, specifically for the funding of the North Carolina Regional. As a team, the Platypi want to ensure that there is always a regional in North Carolina.

As a team, we would encourage everyone to look into getting a FIRST vanity plate in your state. If there’s absolutely anything the Platypi can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask.


About 4 years ago, my first FIRST team, 2106, looked into creating a plate for VA. The process is similar to that of North Carolina’s. The only significant difference is that we would need to collect the fee’s from 450 drivers before we can proceed with the legislative bill. We ran into issues with money collection with the school system. It would still be an interesting project I wouldn’t mind leading if we can get the logistics of it sorted.

That’s awesome!:smiley:

Team 2771 from Michigan has been pushing a similar idea this year…

Team 701 is working on California, proceeds going towards California FIRST. Need 7500 commitment though. We should have info going out to Cali teams by July 1.

Well, I guess I have to move to North Carolina now, just to get one of these…

Great work guys! 281 might be interested in doing this for South Carolina… We have been looking for ways to get involved with our state government. This season we had a big event planed at our state capital, but then the Palmetto regional was moved to that date so it got cancelled. I’ll bring this up at a meeting and see if anyone is interested.

I just submitted a message to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation to ask about the process. We have MANY community groups here that have a ‘graphic’ plate for them. Judging by some of the groups that have successfully gotten plates, the process must be fairly simple in comparison to some other places.

We’ll see what they have to say. MTO’s website has no publicly viewable information on what steps are required to get a new graphic plate approved.

So I got the response.

Seems like all that is required in Ontario is the following:

Organization’s HQ can be outside of Ontario, but must be in Canada, and the organization must have an Ontario location.

Must have the rights to the logo, and give the Crown permission to display it on websites, plates, etc.

Name and logo of the organization do not contain or imply any association with other countries or states.

Exclusivity of distribution will be allowed provided that you ask for it.

The logo/name of the organization/its activities etc can’t be sexual, violent, criminal, or discriminatory in nature

Must pay $250 application fee, refundable if rejected.

Must submit payment on acceptance for 200 regular series sets of plates.

Charity plates have no minimum annual sales to remain in the program, personalized plates (aka. vanity plates) are available, and royalties are available on every regular series or graphic personalized plate sold.

Given this information, it might be challenging. FIRST Robotics Canada (and their FIRST Canada logo) might be eligible. Depends on how they consider the organization. FIRST HQ being based in NH could make it difficult.

The 200 regular series plates they have to order though, is a total cost of $16,430. My suspicion is that personalized plates (reading something like TM4343) would be much more popular than regular series plates.

Great Job Guys!!

You inspired our team to get a FIRST License Plate in Virginia, and we are currently collecting applications to reach the 450 to make this a reality.

We really appreciated all the help you provided us in this process!!

Your team really did Make it Loud! :smiley:

how are you handling the collection of the fees? Like I said, I tried this 4 years ago and got stone walled by my school system. Not sure Henrico is any different.

Oh that is so awesome.

I want one of those and I don’t even own a car.

Bicycle. Better yet, robot.

That is wicked awesome! I wonder if we could start something up here in NH, the birthplace of FIRST…

EDIT: Daisy-th post!

I know right! How is this not a thing in New Hampshire?

We’re collecting through a Friends of Sparky account.
The information is actually on this thread: