It’s one of those things that we often take for granted on modern cars, the exceptions being certain plates that reflect certain vanity words or even our own name. In either case, though, the plate itself is something entirely disposable and quite antiquated.
It’s just a sign, often plastic or thin pressed aluminium, with one function. Haven’t humans progressed enough? In 2018, there has to be a better way.
That might have been the impetus for Dubai’s Department of Vehicle Licensing at tis Road and Transport Authority (RTA), as the BBC reports that the Emirati city is close to trialing a new digital license plate format.
Slated to start in May, the new plates will be much more than an RFID tag or infra-red readable identifier. Rather, these will be far more advanced, packing in many components found in smartphones.
However, it’s unclear whether they will be less of an eyesore on the expensive cars within the Middle Eastern coastal metropolis, ushering in an era of cleaner fascia designs untainted by incongruent rectangular plates.
There are more advantages, though, given that each of these digital ‘smart’ plates will feature digital screens, a GPS, and various other transmitters. In the case of a collision, for examples, they can communicate with emergency services, the police, even other driver’s via their own smart license plate, to report the event.
Traffic conditions will be much easier to track and solve for the city’s road and transit authority while their embedded nature means that tracking stolen vehicles will prove easier than peeling off a fixed plate. Fines, parking fees, and even toll fees can conceivably be automatically deducted from the owner’s (user’s?) account.
The six month trial will conclude in November 2018, and it’ll be interesting to find if the system was successful in streamlining the traffic situation in a city like Dubai while providing additional conveniences to the vehicle owner. However, some have already signalled the project to be a possible privacy violation, positing scenarios where the system could be used to compromise security.