News: It will be an add-on to the photo card instead of a replacement.
The UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is working on a digital version of the driving licence that can be stored on a smartphone.
DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley revealed the plans on Twitter, posting an image of a prototype using Apple’s Wallet app on an iPhone.
He says it will be an add-on to the photo card instead of a replacement and insisted that security was the agency’s priority. There is no timeline on when the digital licence will be introduced.
Smartphone expert Ben Wood, who works for mobile communications analysts CCS Insight, told the BBC: "Security has taken a significant step forward to support digital payments on phones, so the framework is in place for other secure applications, such as a digital driving licence.
"There are not many people in the UK that do not carry a smartphone with them every day, so it is a logical next step."
The UK Government recently published a report into the future of its motoring services including the DVLA.
The report said that many aspects of life are conducted from a tablet or smartphone for some people.
"With the Government Digital Service, we will drive the development of apps that will allow a driver or owner to access the data held by the agencies, as well as related information (for example, the nearest centres providing MOT testing).
"We will also work with other bodies, including the motoring organisations, to allow such functionality to be embedded in their own apps."
The DVLA has reduced the role of paper by abolishing the counterpart licence. It is also involved in a series of digital initiatives. The agency’s move follows recent similar developments across the world
Iowa state in the US is trialling the use of digital ID cards, rather than physical papers. British bank note printer De La Rue is working on plans to store passports on smartphones.
The New South Wales government in Australia has introduced digital licences, eliminating the need for a physical card.
The will allow the government to provide real time information on several licence types and as well push renewal reminders before expiry.