Vehicles Tracked
Millions of vehicles roam roads all over the globe; cars, vans, trucks, and motorcycles. With this comes normalities that are expected of drivers on the road. These include a functioning vehicle serviced annually, car tax paid, and car insurance paid. Getting law enforcement to try and manually scan number plates when they are nearby is not only challenging but would be highly inefficient. This is where automated license plate recognition technology comes in very handy.

What is automatic license plate recognition?

ALPR is a genius technology that is powered by artificial intelligence. There are many facets to AI, one of them being image recognition. Within image recognition, there is also an umbrella of various constructs, such as object detection, image classification, and image similarity. However, when it comes to ALPR, the most relevant construct is undoubtedly optical character recognition (OCR).

OCR is the ability of software technology to extract characters from an image and process them, which effectively means reading them.

This technology can be implemented in various ways, including on existing road-rule enforcement cameras or new camera systems specifically designed for this task. The ALPR systems correctly identify a vehicle's numberplate, and the ability to do this at such a significant volume all day, every day, helps create vehicle location data.

Why is ALPR needed?

By freeing up the need for manual reading of vehicle license plates, ALPR technology enables a very high volume of data to be taken daily. As a car passes a camera fitted with this software, the license plate will be recorded and then instantly checked against database records of vehicles that may be of interest.

For instance, there could be a suspect on the loose who is wanted for criminal charges. If law enforcement is aware of the vehicle they are driving, then ALPR systems can identify the license plate in question at multiple checkpoints. You may also have car insurance companies that have provided a list of the vehicle license plates and personal information of the vehicle owner over to authorities who do not have car insurance on their vehicle. This numberplate will then be entered into the ALPR system, and if it is detected on a camera, there will be a 'hit' and alert the authorities.

As well as assisting law enforcement, ALPR can also be utilized in monitoring traffic patterns in congested areas. This data can then be used to help improve driver and passenger safety.

Parking lots also primarily benefit from ALPR technology. Many car parks with this software will take the vehicle license plate on entry, and the barrier will open up if there is space. This is logged, and the space count will adjust accordingly; plus, once the customer has paid at the machine before they leave, when they then go to escape through the exit barrier, their license plate will be recorded and granted exit if it registers up to the system that they have paid.

We find the world of automatic license plate recognition fascinating and hope you do too!