In case you thought there is already too much “smart” and “phone” in the automotive, here’s fresh piece of news to show you that the UK “digital vehicle era” is only starting.

The DVLA is currently experimenting with a digital form of the driving license. These digital licenses are expected to be used in conjunction with various mobile apps, but they will not replace the physical license, at least for the foreseeable future.

The digital driving license will be an add-on rather than a replacement of the plastic card, DVLA Chief Executive Oliver Morley tells. He also revealed a photo of a “prototype license” displayed on an iPhone, hinting that it might be administered by the Wallet app on the iOS devices.

Smartphones and the apps dedicated to storing credit card information are said to rely on the same end-to-end encryption principles when dealing with personal documents such as the driver’s license, and a password or fingerprint would most likely be needed to access the information.

Digital and physical documents are expected to go hand in hand, and there are multiple reasons for this. Obviously, the most important one is that not everybody is using (or willing to use) a smartphone. There are people who literally don’t need any of the features smartphones offer today, and there are also the elderly, who are more reluctant to using these gadgets.

Next in line comes the security of the digital data, and the odds of losing the phone or having it stolen. That and other additional reasons may stand in the way of the all-digital era, but we can almost imagine driving license data being stored in the vehicle’s memory, accessible by whoever is driving using their own passwords when needed.

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