Sultan Al Marzouqi, Director of Vehicle Licensing, RTA, explains how tag2Connect smart plate system works. Image Credit: Courtesy: RTA

Dubai: Vehicles equipped with smart number plates will automatically send out alert to police and ambulance centres in case of accidents or any other emergencies, officials said on Monday.

Dubai will be the first city in the world next month to run a pilot of smart plates, testing the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) Tag2Connect (T2C) platform.

The system, which was on display at the Dubai International Government Achievements Exhibtion (DIGAE), will see vehicles installed with smart plates (digital screens) equipped with GPS, transmitters and a microprocessor chip, replacing the existing metal plates.

Based on Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain technologies, the T2C platform, will enable direct continuous real time communication between vehicles as well as providing long range communications with Traffic Monitoring Centre.

The continuous connectivity will help vehicles interact with each other as well as interacting with the authorities, feeding data to the central system.

“This feature will help us study road behaviour of a driver, track the vehicle’s movement as well as helping the driver to conduct seamless transaction with different authorities. Also among the benefits is that the system will send out automatic alerts to authorities concerned in case of an emergency,” said Sultan Al Marzouqi, Director of Licensing, RTA.

He added that the trial will be conducted until the end of this year to iron out any glitches in the system and to see how the system will actually work.

“During the trial we will work out the modalities of the system, the cost of the plates, how to roll it out in the future and it will require to have the system in place,” said Al Marzouqi.

Explaining the system further he said: “the smart plate is like a device that is connected to the system. It will be compatible with the different mobile platforms and drivers will be able to conduct any transaction using the plate number, without having to visit the customer care centre.”

The smart plate will be linked to a driver’s traffic file and e-purse, allowing the motorists to carry out vehicle registration, testing and pay fines or fees on the go.

Vehicle history

Another first in the world, and a related initiative is the Vehicle Chain project that will help RTA track the history of a vehicle from birth to scrap.

“The Vehicle Chain project will bring all the stakeholders such as manufacturers, dealers, workshops, insurers, licensing authorities, police and vehicles owners on a single platform. This will bring in the much needed transparency in the auto industry, especially in the used car market,” said Abullah Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency.

He added that the system will give buyers the power of knowledge about a vehicle he is buying.

“Currently, it is not so easy to find out what a particular vehicle has gone through, whether it was damaged, it had an accident or what repairs it had gone through. This is more true in cases of imported vehicles. So the Vehicle Chain system will give people all the information about a vehicle right from the minute it rolled out the factory,” said Al Ali.

He said the system is part of 10X and a first in the world.

Autonomous pods road trials from end of this year

Dubai Autonomous Pods that were unveiled at the World Government Summit in February this year will begin their road trials in Dubai by the end of this year, a senior RTA official told Gulf News.

The innovative public transport vehicles that the RTA is looking at as one of its last mile solutions, are currently under trial in Italy, undergoing possible improvements.

“We are currently working with the manufacturer to improve the vehicle and we will soon the reach the commercial and safety standard required for the vehicles to be on road,” said Khalid Al Awadhi, Automated Fare Collection, RTA.

He added that once ready, the pods will be introduced on Dubai roads as a trial, initially on dedicated pre-designed routes and later it will be operating on the shared routes.

The fully electric pods, capable of carrying up to 10 people, are on display at the RTA’s stand at DIGAE.