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August 2017

AAMVA develops effort to test mobile driver’s licenses

Mobile driver’s licenses (mDLs) are regarded as the future of driver licensing and identification. With this emerging technology, AAMVA is doing what it has done on so many other fronts in helping to develop and position standardization for its members.

In 2016, AAMVA, working with other motor vehicle authorities around the world, continued the creation of international standards and requirements for mDLs. The “Mobile Driver’s License Functional Needs White Paper” from AAMVA’s Joint mDL Working Group was a significant contribution. The positive feedback AAMVA received from the international community paved the way to a new opportunity to work on a proof of concept, known as the “mDL Test Drive.”

What is it?

The mDL Test Drive is the first AAMVA effort developed to test an mDL. It’s a collaboration between AAMVA and the Netherlands’ motor vehicle authority, the RDW. Using the mDL functional requirements identified in the white paper, the RDW built a proof of concept that’s focused on the operational exercise of having and using an mDL.

“It’s referred to as a ‘Test Drive’ because it may be the first time some participants are interacting with any form of mDL or electronic credential,” says Geoff Slagle, director of Identity Management at AAMVA.

One important thing to note, however, is that “AAMVA is not trying to be in the mDL business,” says Slagle. The Test Drive is simply about giving jurisdictions the initial exposure to electronic credentials so that they have a better understanding of how they work and will have a point of reference in the future when working with third-party mDL solution providers to establish mDLs in their jurisdictions.

How does it work?

Participation in the proof of concept is currently limited to AAMVA jurisdiction members only. Participants will need at a minimum two devices, either a phone or tablet (Android 5 or later). Participants will first download the ‘mDL Holder’ app from Google Play, enter a PIN and request an mDL enrollment token.

Once the user’s enrollment is approved (including their photo being submitted), the mDL will be issued to their device and it will be automatically downloaded through the app. Then participants need to download the ‘mDL Reader’ app on a separate Android device.

The device with the ‘mDL Reader’ app will be able to scan a QR code on the ‘mDL Holder’ app with the device’s camera. When the QR code is scanned, a secure connection is set up, and the license data is then transferred between the devices.

The ‘Reader’ device is able to check all the security features of the mDL, including making sure all license data is unaltered. Both apps work offline once they have been downloaded on the devices.

Participants have the option to transfer all of their mDL information, or just their age and photo, to the ‘Reader’ device for verification. They are even able to transfer their mDL to a new device without any interaction with the DMV.

Why join the effort?

All feedback from the North American jurisdictions will be shared with the RDW to help shape the ongoing work of mDLs and their standards. The shared goal of AAMVA and RDW with the Test Drive is to create a proof of concept that benefits everyone.

“If we’re to be successful in implementing mDLs in a way that’s going to yield optimal, universal benefits, then we have to do this in concert with each other,” says Slagle. “We can’t do this by ourselves.”

When is it available?

Any interested AAMVA jurisdictions may join the first phase of the mDL Test Drive now. Seven to eight jurisdictions are participating in the proof of concept at the moment, says Slagle.

The RDW, which has taken on all financial responsibility for the Test Drive, is currently working on phase two of the effort, which will introduce iOS operability (the Test Drive can only be operated on Android devices at this time). Some jurisdictions have discussed joining the Test Drive once phase two is launched and both Android and Apple users are able to participate, says Slagle.

Phase two is expected sometime this summer. Slagle is hopeful it will be ready in time for AAMVA’s Annual International Conference (AIC) on August 21–23 in San Francisco.