The South Australian State Government is going to trial digital identity and permit cards, including for driving licences.

The state hopes to eventually replace physical cards with digital ones which can be stored online and accessed on smartphones.

Apart from driving licences, the scheme will expand to include other permits like senior citizens’ cards, passes for national parks, licences to drive boats and trade certifications.

Residents will be able to apply for, update and renew their licences from their smartphones and get real-time updates on its status. “By establishing a digital pass, it would also eliminate the frustration of replacing lost or stolen cards,” said South Australian Minister for the Public Sector Susan Close.

“Security of such a scheme will be particularly important, so we’ll be looking to see what forms of identification can be safely and securely stored online when establishing which cards will be part of this pilot project,” she added.

South Australia’s announcements follows New South Wales, which was the first state to commit to digital driving licences.

NSW will begin trials for digital permits from this year, starting with Responsible Service of Alcohol and Conduct of Gambling licences.

It plans to make driving licences digital by 2018, with proof-of-age cards, and boat and recreational fishing licences to be digitised earlier.

Image by Ruben Schade; licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.