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Our Correspondent

Digital vehicle number plates that can alert the police in case of an accident or the driver about traffic jams will be rolled out in the UAE by end of this year or early next year.

The digital number plate after installation will be activated by the emirate’s transport authority and will be connected to the police department.

Dubai-based Seed Group, a company of the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, has teamed up with California-headquartered technology firm Reviver Auto and will invest Dh250 million ($69.4m) in the first phase of the project. It has investments in healthcare, F&B, technology, telecom and other sectors.

The digital vehicle number plate is currently being assembled in Taiwan. It will be equipped with sensors which will send out an alert if the number plate is removed or detached.

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“Only the government will be authorised to change the display on the plate. The government will be able to send messages to motorists through digital vehicle number plates which will be connected to the driver’s mobile. So any message that the government wants to send to you, they’ll send it to the number plate through a SIM card used for internet of things. And then that message will go on to the driver’s mobile. So the government can communicate both with the driver and motorists around the car because the message will be displayed on the number plate,” said Hisham Al Gurg, CEO of Seed Group.

“In case of any accident or fog alert, etc, motorists will get alerts on their digital vehicle number plates. It will also have an RFID technology to pay for Salik, parking fee and fill the tank through a digital wallet which will be linked to the motorists banks or credit card,” said Al Gurg.

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The GCC will be the first market outside the US where Reviver’s digital plates, called RPlate, will be introduced. Simultaneously, Seed Group will introduce them in North Africa, South Africa and Malta.

Motion sensors in the RPlate let users monitor the vehicle remotely through the app and alert them if the vehicle is bumped in a parking lot or is stolen. The location of the car can be easily tracked by police.

“Subject to approval from the federal and local authorities, we are aiming for launch at the end of this year or in the first quarter of 2022. First it will be rolled out for certain segments such as government and commercial vehicles and a complete rollout will take at least three years. I expect the last segment will be average consumers or residents,” he added.

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The digital car plates can also carry advertisements, and authorities may allow a part of revenue from advertisement to go to vehicle owners. There are around 5.5 million vehicles in the UAE.

“The money earned from advertisement revenues can go to car owner’s digital wallet and he can pay for the parking, fine, car registration or fuel,” Gurg said.