Gemalto Wins US Gov’t Grant for Digital Driver’s License Pilot

Gemalto, the world leader in digital security, is partnering with Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, and Washington D.C. to pilot digital driver’s licenses (DDLs).

Gemalto received a government grant to support these jurisdictions to pilot the development of a smartphone-based credential, and will implement an interoperable solution of a magnitude not seen before in the market.

This partnership includes a two year grant from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which spearheads the country’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, an effort dedicated to securing and protecting privacy in the digital world.

(Learn More. Gemalto brings trust to an increasingly connected world. Courtesy of Gemalto and YouTube)

As a longstanding partner to jurisdictions across the country, Gemalto has leveraged its combined expertise in the driver’s license (DL) and identification (ID) sector, along with its strong position as a global leader in digital and mobile technology.

As states and government entities shift toward digital ID strategies, the NIST funded pilot is an opportunity to set the precedent for mobile driver’s license security and frameworks moving forward.

Gemalto recognizes the continued trend towards consumer mobility and digital dependence, and will guide states as they address this digital transformation with a DL option for their mobile-first citizens.

Gemalto banner image
Gemalto has leveraged its combined expertise in the driver’s license (DL) and identification (ID) sector, along with its strong position as a global leader in digital and mobile technology

This mobile movement is especially prevalent among the next generation of drivers and the massive millennial demographic. According to a 2015 Pew Research Study, 86 percent of people aged 18 to 29 have a smartphone.

Issuing agencies are looking to target this group with new technology and provide a supplemental service to its existing client base to meet the needs of a diverse group of drivers.

The digital driver’s license serves as a secure, companion version of the physical ID card.

The pilot will address four main use cases including enrollment, updates to the document once it’s in the field, attribute sharing and law enforcement.

The mobile license will enable new security features, coupled with advanced in-field verification, as well as allow for enhanced privacy for citizens through better control of personal information.

Katerina Megas, NSTIC Pilots Program Manager at NIST
Katerina Megas, NSTIC Pilots Program Manager at NIST

“We are pleased to engage in this multi-year pilot program designed to address the many different opportunities surrounding digital identities,” said Katerina Megas, NSTIC Pilots Program Manager at NIST.

“The digital driver’s license solution Gemalto presented embodies the NSTIC1 Guiding Principles surrounding trusted identities in cyberspace. Our goal is to work with organizations to determine the best technology and implementation strategy that will maintain both citizen privacy and security.”

“Gemalto understands that each jurisdiction will have unique needs and experience different challenges throughout implementation,” said Steve Purdy, VP of State Identity Programs at Gemalto.

“The collaborative nature of this project will enable us to quickly identify use-case best practices and lessons learned, share those, and refine the solution in a more comprehensive and efficient way. It brings not only the ability to serve individual jurisdiction needs, but the strength of working together cooperatively with a common goal.”

Convenience of the mobile format – potential new identification use cases

Beyond the important security aspects, issuing authorities have shown particular interest in the universal convenience of this mobile format:

  • Convenience for holders, who can travel lighter with a digital driver’s license, instantly updatable, on their phone.
  • Convenience for law enforcement or other parties wanting to verify identity and privileges.
  • Convenience for issuing authorities who can explore new services needing such a trusted and secure channel for sharing and validating identity.

The driver’s license has been a standard for decades, acting not just as proof that you can drive but as an ID to verify age and identity, opening mobile driver’s license to many usages such as:

  • Police control: roadside stops to identify the driver of a vehicle and his/her privileges.
  • Proof of age: where purchase of alcohol, as in many countries, is restricted to people aged 18 or more, verified by the retailer.
  • Car rental: to identify the renter, ensure driving privileges and share attributes (address…etc )
  • Identity validation or confirmation for hotel check-in, financial institutions, social services…
  • Online authentication: from access control to identity verification…

1National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace


Gemalto is the global leader in digital security, with 2015 annual revenues of €3.1 billion and customers in over 180 countries. We bring trust to an increasingly connected world.

Our technologies and services enable businesses and governments to authenticate identities and protect data so they stay safe and enable services in personal devices, connected objects, the cloud and in between.

Gemalto’s solutions are at the heart of modern life, from payment to enterprise security and the internet of things. We authenticate people, transactions and objects, encrypt data and create value for software – enabling our clients to deliver secure digital services for billions of individuals and things.