The Finnish Transport and Safety Agency announced this week that they’ll soon be introducing the world’s first digital drivers license. The license, in the form of an app called Autoilija, is expected to be available by summer 2018.
A test group has been trying the app already, using it wherever they’re required to show a government ID. Like a paper ID card, the digital image has several security features, including a QR code that confirms its authenticity and the ability to update the photo more frequently. It’s important to note that the digital license does not track or record the location of its user.
For the user, the app can provide technical info for any vehicle registeration in the country of Finland, including inspection details and vehicle taxes. Initial test results have been nothing but successful.
The goal for now isn’t for the app to replace a physical ID, but to supplement it. Long term though, the government hopes for the app to become a popular alternative to a physical license, and to even entirely replace it (although legislature changes would be needed for that to happen).
It’s no coincidence that Finland is the first country to embrace the digital license. This is a country that’s known for their innovation when it comes to driving as well as their top ranked road safety and driver habits. Finlands roads are consistently among the safest in the world, with just around 200 fatalities annually.
Finland is also at the forefront of driverless car technology, with multiple trials going on right now across the nation. It’s somwhat ironic that the world’s leader in driver safety is ramping up efforts to be even more safe, but as robotics specialist Kirsi Miettinen from the Finnish Transport Ministry points out, well over 90% of traffic incidents are caused by human error. And if there’s room for improvement, they’re taking it.