License plates will receive a 21st-century makeover in Dubai as the emirate prepares to launch a trial for digital license plates. Among the many features, the plates could even notify onlookers a particular car has been stolen after a theft. The plate could quickly update to flash "stolen" instead of the serial number to alert authorities.

The digital plates go by the name Tag 2 Connect. Head of vehicle licensing at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Sultan Abdullah al-Marzouqi, told the Khaleej Times on Wednesday that they can display further information. The digital license plate can, for example, alert onlookers about traffic congestion ahead, provide updated road conditions, and provide warnings about accidents.

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Drivers who connect a smart wallet to the "Tag 2 Connect" plates will also be able to pay parking and registration fees digitally.

al-Marzouqi also told Gulf News the plates can be changed via the RTA website or smartphone app. For example, the digital plate could display a special symbol to denote a new driver is behind the wheel.

Dubai won't roll out the futuristic plates en masse. Instead it will begin a trial period this May and test the plates through November. During the trial, the technology will face the local climate's extremes, which include temperatures up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit.