Iowa, state of corn fields, soybeans and Slipknot, is working on a huge high-tech project: a driver’s license app residents can install on their smartphones. While convenient, it does come with a number of risks, so the state’s Department of Transportation will give it features to confirm each license’s authenticity and protect its owner’s privacy. Hawkeye state’s DOT Director Paul Trombino says the app will be protected by a pin number, and a second layer of protection such as facial or fingerprint recognition could be added in the future.
The Iowa Department of Transportation said it plans to pilot a smartphone driver’s license program that could one day make plastic licenses a thing of the past. “It’s really moving beyond a static thing,” said Mark Lowe, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicles Division, in an interview with The Washington Post. The concept is to not only host the license in an app, but to also be able to send push notifications about, say, traffic, or if a user’s license is about to expire, Lowe said. He said he is “not aware” of any other state that has a similar program. A group of state employees that travels frequently for work will pilot the program in the next six months, and the department of transportation will determine the next steps for wider use, including giving Iowans the option to try to the smartphone license while waiting for their plastic version to arrive in the mail.