Dubai’s smart license plates contact paramedics when the car crashes

Dubai, a place certainly not shy when it comes to taking new technology for a spin, is about to begin testing smart license plates.

Comprising a digital display and incorporating GPS and transmitters, the new plates will be able to automatically contact first responders when a crash occurs, and communicate information about traffic conditions to other cars and drivers, the BBC reported.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority says the new high-tech plate also has the ability to display and send an alert if the car or the plate itself is stolen.

Perhaps not so great for rogue drivers, the advanced license plate will also facilitate the automatic payment of traffic fines, while it will also take care of any parking charges and registration plate renewals.

Privacy advocates will have other concerns, however, as the incorporation of GPS means that the authorities will have the ability to track vehicles around the clock.

The trial, which begins in May, aims to pinpoint and fix any technical difficulties caused by Dubai’s hot desert climate.

Dubai has made a name for itself in recent years for fully embracing technology across a range of industries. Transportation has proved to be of particular interest when it comes to its high-tech ambitions.

Besides the incoming smart plates, the city is also taking a serious interest in the development of the ultra-fast Hyperloop transportation system and could be one of the first places in the world to host a fully operational Hyperloop.

In addition, Dubai’s rulers are working with several companies — Uber and EHang among them — in a bid to get flying taxis in the air in time for the city’s World Expo event in 2020, and the authorities are also using drones at camp sites and beaches to catch people littering.

There’s more. The government has signed a deal with OTSAW Digital to put self-driving cop cars on the streets. The diminutive vehicle only has a top speed of 9.3 miles per hour, but its powerful on-board cameras allow it to scan locations for wanted persons, stolen cars, or suspicious items, with the ability to automatically alert a police officer (whether human or robotic) if it spots something.

To top it all off, the city’s police and paramedics are heading to incidents in a range of very flashy cars, among them a Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Veyron, Lotus Evora, and Ford Mustang. Whatever will they think of next?

Smart Home

Cops go after porch pirates with dummy Amazon boxes and GPS trackers

Amazon is helping police in Jersey City to catch thieves who steal delivered packages from outside people's homes. Within just minutes of the operation's launch this week, cops nabbed their first porch pirate.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Outdoors

Crush your next workout with the best Fitbit for every activity

Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking progress. However, different activities require different metrics. We've gathered a list of the best Fitbits for running, swimming, biking, and other activities.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.
Cars

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.