In the age of ‘smart’ this and ‘smart’ that, it’s only fitting that license plates evolve from flat, metallic signage into a device that serves a greater purpose. Dubai is leading the way in testing a new generation of vehicle identification plates. These license plates won’t only be digital (say goodbye to replacement fees), they are certifiably smart, carrying out tasks including alerting the police and first responders in the wake of a crash (say goodbye, hit and runs) and transmitting info about changes in traffic patterns to other drivers (goodbye, Waze?).
The license plates will contain GPS transmitters that will allow for the transmission of information, and the incorporated technology will also be able to send an alert in the case that the car or the plate is stolen. Dubai’s Vehicle Licensing Department at Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced that they’ll be rolling out the plates for a test round in the next month as part of the nation’s series of technological rollouts. The nation continues to seek status as an epicenter of innovation.
Most of the features that the smart license plate will offer – from quicker ambulance response times to real-time traffic updates and thwarted vehicle thefts – are unequivocally positive for virtually all drivers. However, it’s not all good news. Traffic violation fines, parking fees, and registration renewal costs will be automatically deducted from accounts tied to the plate’s owner. Depending upon your views about ease of payment and whether you believe paying tickets is optional or obligatory, this is either good or bad news.
The inter-car communication system, dubbed Tag2Connect by the Transport Authority, will incorporate blockchain technology to ensure users remain anonymous as they are supplied with continuous, real-time traffic updates.
This feature will help us study road behavior of a driver, track the vehicle’s movement as well as helping the driver to conduct seamless transaction with different authorities. Also among the benefits is that the system will send out automatic alerts to authorities concerned in case of an emergency, said Sultan Al Marzouqi, Director of Licensing, RTA.
Once the trial begins, it will run until the end of the year so that the engineers and authorities can collect relevant data on the system’s functionality, ironing out any kinks that emerge along the way.
During the trial we will work out the modalities of the system, the cost of the plates, how to roll it out in the future and it will require to have the system in place, Al Marzouqi added.