Dubai’s Seed Group to roll out the GCC’s first digital vehicle licence plates

The investment group has teamed up with California-based Reviver Auto and will inject Dh250m in the first phase of the project

Hisham Al Gurg, chief executive of Seed Group, says digital plates will positively disrupt various industries such as security, transport, technology and entertainment. Courtesy Seed Group
Hisham Al Gurg, chief executive of Seed Group, says digital plates will positively disrupt various industries such as security, transport, technology and entertainment. Courtesy Seed Group

Dubai-based investment company Seed Group plans to roll out digital vehicle registration plates in the region by the end of this year, its chief executive said.

“We have executed successful POCs [proof of concepts] with Dubai Police and RTA [Roads and Transport Authority] … outcomes are encouraging and we are on the right track," Hisham Al Gurg told The National. "Digital plates will be launched once we get final approvals from the authorities, including the federal and local governments.”

Seed Group, a company of the Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum, has teamed up with California-headquartered technology firm Reviver Auto and will invest Dh250 million ($69.4m) in the first phase of the project, Mr Gurg said.

The GCC will be the first market outside the US where Reviver’s digital plates, called RPlate, will be launched. Seed Group is also working in parallel to introduce them in North Africa, South Africa and Malta.

RPlate transforms the stamped metal licence plate into a sleek, digital and high-definition display. The technology can automate vehicle registration renewals and add new levels of personalisation to the licence plate that includes promoting charitable causes or a favourite sports team, Mr Al Gurg said.

“It will also add capabilities such as geofencing, monitoring trips taken and miles travelled,” he added.

Motion sensors in the RPlate let users monitor the vehicle remotely through the app and alert them if the vehicle is bumped in a parking lot or if a car is stolen. The location of the car can be easily tracked by police.

Regulators can digitally manage the vehicle’s registration and other compliance processes. Driver behaviour and location can also be monitored through the sensors. Since the display is digital, the content can be adjusted to convey additional information and status details.

“Our POC is already approved in Malta. It will be the first European market to have digital plates once our discussions are finalised with the Maltese authorities,” said Mr Al Gurg.

“This is one of the most disruptive and visionary projects undertaken by Seed Group. Digital plates hold the potential to impact many industries such as security, transport, technology and entertainment … making them more secure, connected, responsive and agile,” he added.

RPlate will be connected with the users’ smartphone and the regulators’ systems through an app. Courtesy Reviver
RPlate will be connected with users’ smartphones and regulators’ systems through an app. Courtesy Reviver

Seed Group, which acts as a springboard for global start-ups that are willing to expand into Dubai and the wider Middle East, has invested in diverse sectors such as technology, cyber security, healthcare, FinTech, tourism and hospitality.

“Out of Dh250m, nearly Dh50m budget is earmarked for the UAE launch … [we] intend to launch by the end of the fourth quarter or early next year. As technology develops and we see more emerging use cases, we will inject more capital, but it will be decided at the later stages of the project,” he added.

“We chose [the] UAE as our second market due to its focus on innovation and technology … the country is focusing on connected vehicle strategies for some time and the digital plate will be a good compliment to their strategic initiatives,” Robert Wood, president and chief executive of Reviver, told The National.

Reviver has teamed up with Seed Group because of their “relationship with the local authorities and the forward-looking plans”, Mr Wood said.

“Seed Group has led a number of technology and innovative initiatives over the years … we have a good chance of advancing the project and overcoming any political and operational obstacles that may come up,” he added.

RPlate has been approved by the US government for sale in California and Arizona.

RPlate Courtesy Reviver 
RPlate has been approved by the US government for sale in California and Arizona. Courtesy Reviver

Additional features will include amber and weather alerts, automated parking, paying toll taxes, marketing capabilities and much more, Reviver said on its website.

“The metal licence plate is a 19th-century feature of 21st-century vehicles. In it, we see untapped opportunities for motor vehicle administrations and vehicle owners,” Neville Boston, founder and chief security officer of the company, said.

Neville Boston, founder and chief security officer of Reviver, left, and Robert Wood, president and chief executive of the company. Courtesy Reviver
Neville Boston, founder and chief security officer of Reviver, left, and Robert Wood, president and chief executive of the company. Courtesy Reviver

Updated: May 17, 2021 02:09 PM

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