Dubai to launch digital vehicle number plates soon

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Dubai's authorities are planning to introduce a digital number plate capable of tracking drivers locations and informing the police of bad driving.

Dubai's ongoing efforts to spearhead new transport initiatives will see the country adopt an entirely new license plate technology. It sees vehicles installed with smart plates (digital screens) equipped with Global Positioning System, transmitters and a microprocessor chip, replacing the existing metal plates.

What are the advantages of the plates?

The number plates not only enable police or ambulance to find the vehicle if there has been any sort of accident, the plates can also monitor traffic conditions and communicate that to other drivers.

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Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, head of the RTA's Vehicle Licensing Department, said the plates will contact police and ambulance services if the vehicle is involved in a collision and allows real-time communication with other drivers about traffic and accidents.

Drivers will also be able to change their plates using the RTA's app or website and the plates will be able to display an alert if the vehicle or plate is stolen.

Fines, parking fees and registration costs can be automatically billed via the smart plate and its associated electronic wallet.

The test will run from next month until November when a decision will be made on whether it's cost effective and if screens can deal with the desert climate.

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It's not clear how much the plates will cost, but according to Sultan Abdullah, they are now being tested.

The technology also allows the transport authorities to track drivers, raising potential issues surrounding privacy and information security.

The project, revealed by the Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA) at the Future Cities Show in Dubai, will be trialled this year.

Dubai aims to be an worldwide technology hub and has big plans to expand the use of technology in transport. Just this past year, the city initiated a plan to implement drone taxis to help free up traffic hotspots.

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