'Smartphone driving licence' being developed by DVLA

DVLA reportedly developing ‘smartphone driving licence’

Following the abolition of the paper counterpart to the driving licence, the DVLA have been working on its replacement: an app that will allow drivers to host their licence on their smartphone.

The first news of the app came via a tweet by DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley. The text reads “so here’s a little prototype of something we’re working on”, accompanied by an image of an iPhone showing a driving licence in the existing Wallet app. According to a DVLA spokesman, the app won’t be exclusively available on Apple devices – it’s being developed for the Android operating system and other platforms too.

On the subject of security, likely to be at the forefront of drivers’ minds, Morley was keen to reassure his followers that it is a “priority” in the app’s development. He also noted that the app won’t replace the photocard, but will be an ‘add-on’ that could be used in situations where the driver may not have access to their physical card.

Smartphone expert Ben Wood, who works for mobile communications analysts CCS Insight, seemed receptive to the idea, telling 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."

Speaking to Autocar, however, a DVLA spokesman confirmed that the app is “still in the early stages of development and it is just a prototype at this point”. There is currently no launch date, or indeed firm commitment to the app. What it does suggest is that the DVLA are looking to bring themselves up to speed with the smartphone revolution, bring an essential document within easy digital reach.