With everything going digital, it was only a matter of time before number plates and vehicle registration also became digitized. While the digitization of number plates may not happen tomorrow, there are several countries in the world already exploring the possibility. It is no surprise that one of the places you can get on the digital number plate band-wagon is Dubai. It would make sense that Dubai would explore this possibility given the millions of Pounds they already spend on developing the most advanced technology hub in the world.
The announcement came from Dubai’s Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, head of vehicle licensing at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). He recently said that the RTA was rolling out digital (smart) number plates that are expected to slowly come into operation, phasing out the more traditional number plate. And as you can imagine, these digital number plates, much like your smartphone, will have capabilities we don’t usually associate with number plates.
For example, once the program rolls out, drivers in Dubai can expect real-time traffic updates from their smart number plate as well as information about the changing conditions on the road. These plates will also be able to warn you if there is an accident on the road, allowing you to easily avoid unnecessary delays. They will also have a feature that allows you to communicate with other drivers on the road in real-time, which if for nothing else, may eliminate the many instances of road rage. But perhaps their most important feature is the ability to contact emergency services in real-time.
The possibilities of Digital (smart) number plates
These digital plates will be matched to a driver’s user account or profile. This will make it easier for users to tackle certain issues much easily including paying for parking fees, renewal of vehicle registration and even payment of fines all online. This digitization will not only make the whole process of vehicle registration much easier, but also make the average driver’s life much easier.
Yet, in many ways, digitization of number plates will significantly reduce the instances of number plate theft. For example, in the proposed Dubai version of digitized number plates, a stolen car number plate might have a visual alert on it indicating that it has been stolen. This alert would go up as soon as the plate’s owner indicates on their profile that their number plate has been stolen. This will not only make it easier to catch number plate thieves, but will also deter would-be number plate thieves.
As you might imagine, any such plan will cost any government a pretty penny to set up and it is natural that this cost would affect the number plates themselves and the cost of registering your vehicle. Dubai has not provided details on the total cost of the project, but the benefits in many ways outweigh any costs involved. In the long run the extra we may have to pay to get smart number plates may well be worth it if it means less bureaucracy in vehicle registrations.