Insights & Analyses

Australia’s New South Wales to launch digital driver’s licenses this year

Smartphone and registration, please.

By mid 2018, the Australian state of New South Wales plans to offer digital driver’s licenses, stored on a user’s smartphone, allowing them to ditch their physical ID card. The government successfully trialed the system last year with 1,000 residents in the town of Dubbo, using its Service NSW app.

Service NSW chief product officer Christian Wood revealed that the digital ID program will go nationwide later this year while speaking at the Overcoming the Challenges of Digital Transformation conference in Australia’s capital of Canberra on Tuesday. His comments were spotlighted by ZDNet.

New South Wales already offers digital cards for recreational fishing, responsible service of alcohol, and responsible conduct of gambling competency.

The state already allows citizens to renew their license and pay fines through the official app, but adding secure identity verification to smartphones proved to be a bit more challenging. Though some ingenuity and cross-agency teamwork, officials had their Dubbo trial up and running in six months, and well under budget.

New South Wales will join Iowa in the U.S. as two states that will launch their own smartphone-based driver’s licenses this year. Iowa’s platform was developed in cooperation with MorphoTrust USA, which has developed secure mobile driver’s license technology.

In all, at least 10 U.S. states are said to be considering digital, smartphone-based ID cards for drivers.