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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Are digital number plates about to become the norm in Dubai?

Trials of a replacement for physical number plates begin next month

Regular number plates could soon be a thing of the past. Victor Besa / The National
Regular number plates could soon be a thing of the past. Victor Besa / The National

Digital number plates could be set to replace regular versions on cars in Dubai, depending on the results of a trial starting next month.

The RTA’s head of vehicle licensing Sultan Abdullah Al Marzouqi said that tests are taking place with the new “smart” plates, which feature a digital display, GPS and transmitters.

The plates would be connected to a motorist’s user account, allowing functions such as parking fees, registration renewal and fine payments to be handled online.

Other innovations include real-time communication with other drivers about traffic and accidents, as well as being able to contact emergency services in the event of a collision.

Personalised, unique or unusual plates are very popular. Victor Besa / The National
Personalised, unique or unusual plates are very popular. Victor Besa / The National

They could also provide an answer to an "alarming" rise in thefts of the number plates from cars, a problem that was discussed by Dubai Police last month. The new plates are able to display a visual alert if the vehicle's plates are stolen.

It is the latest in mooted schemes that could be used to combat crime in the Emirates, such as the all-seeing-and-hearing technology developed by Brazilian company Polsec.

The cost of the digital plates is yet to be announced, but is due to be calculated and announced after the trials finish in November.

How the move may affect the UAE’s lucrative market for desirable number plates, however, remains to be seen.

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