It may sound futuristic and something that may be befitting from the new Blade Runner movie, but by 2018 we could have digital driving licences.
While the “Quick, easy and secure” service will not fully replace plastic licences, it will provide a convenient and legal alternative for those with a compatible device.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) states it will have a test system in place by September this year, with the aim of going live by next March.
One of the reasons behind the DVLA’s plan – the biggest fundamental change to the licencing system since paper licences were scrapped in 2015 – is to provide the ability for drivers to share and validate information with trusted third parties.
“It is also important to note that this electronic licence is not a replacement for the plastic licence and it will still be necessary to carry this with you as it will only be available where you have a web connection,” stated the RAC
“The majority of motorists will welcome this advance as a positive step embracing technology and making it easier and more convenient.”
The DVLA confirmed that work is currently in the early stages, with further details on how the service will work set to be released further in the future.
Back in May 2016, chief executive Oliver Morley first revealed on social media that a prototype for a digital licence was in development .
In his post, a smartphone screen displayed the image of a licence within the Apple Pay app – already being used to make life easier for travelers by air by storing boarding passes, and shoppers by holding payment card details.
The DVLA’s business plan states: “The driver will be in control of their data and this can be used to share and validate driver information with trusted third parties through a secure website.
“This service will not replace the full driving licence. The digital licence service will only be available to driving licence holders who have authenticated themselves on gov.uk through the existing driving licence service.
While this is exciting and a great technological advancement, many have doubts due to cyber crime and fraud which is understandable in this current age where everything is becoming digitized. Many car insurance companies no longer send you insurance documents now, they are all electronic which makes sense to be more paperless, but arguably a document such as a driving licence holds more issues with fraud and cyber threats. Only time will tell