Vehicle license plates haven’t changed much in concept since the car itself was invented more than a century ago, but digital license plates have been talked about more in recent years. Now, drivers in Dubai are set to test them out.
Dubai will start testing digital “ smart plates” on some vehicles next month, according to the BBC. The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority’s argument for the trial is that these devices will allow for quicker emergency response if the driver is in a crash or if the car is stolen. Services such as registration renewal, tolls, and parking fines can also be instantly deducted from the vehicle’s owner.
But because GPS is fitted to the license plates, there’s concern about privacy. The license numbers can be changed by the transport authority remotely, which means they could potentially be hacked. The BBC also said Dubai’s desert climate with heat and sand may also pose challenges to the technology.
California passed a bill in 2013 to start allowing the testing of digital license plates, and they started rolling out earlier this year. Plate readers and tracking are also nothing new for law enforcement agencies, and these smart plates could take that to a new level. What was wrong with a metal plate again?