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French drivers to get multi-functional NFC licenses

France's new NFC driving license

EDL: France’s new driving licenses can be read with an NFC phone

French drivers are now being issued with new multi-application driving licenses based on contactless smart cards that contain both a public and a private data area. The private area can only be accessed and verified by police and other authorities while the public area can be read by an NFC phone and used by third parties to, for instance, store insurance details and virtual keys.

The new licenses are being introduced by Imprimerie Nationale, the French national printing works, and use Gemalto’s Sealys multi-application electronic driving license technology.

The polycarbonate driving licenses house an ISO 14443 compliant microprocessor that includes two storage areas, one for public and one for private data. The private space will be used to store driving license data so that it can be verified by police officers in cases involving suspected fraud or other criminality. The space provisioned for public usage will be offered to a variety of service providers and will be able to be read by an NFC phone.

“This ‘public space’ can be used to store information such as insurance details, so if a crash happened then an individual could pick up insurance data of the other party by NFC,” says Gemalto.

“The other, more impressive, use is that it could host NFC key entry to a car — so you could access a vehicle using a driving license rather than a key. This would allow use in places like car rentals that could download keys to licenses and ensure that the right person has access to a car.”

 Over time, Gemalto says, “Sealys offers the potential to transform the new French driving license into a multi-application smart card that can incorporate additional permit-related services, such as tracking of driving permits and insurance, tax and vehicle certification details.”

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