License Plate Readers are specialized security cameras designed to detect, capture, and log vehicle license plates. License Plate Readers are also being referred to as License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras or Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Cameras. License Plate Readers are used in a variety of applications, including law enforcement, traffic management, parking enforcement, tolling and access control.
License Plate Readers work by capturing an image of a vehicle's license plate. The image is then processed by the camera's software, which identifies the characters on the license plate. The license plate number is then stored in a database with the image of the license plate, for future reference. To capture license plates of moving vehicles the process has to be completed in a matter of milliseconds. During night time infrared illumination (IR) is being used to capture the license plates.
Common Challenges with License Plate Readers
While reading license plates is simple for humans it can pose challenges for an automatic system. Common challenges include:
- Dirt on the plates
- License Plates differ visually in different countries
- Accurate detection at night, rain or snow
- Accurate recognition at high vehicle speed
Benefits of License Plate Readers
License Plate Readers have a number of benefits. They can be used to track vehicles, identify stolen vehicles, and enforce parking regulations. License Plate Readers can also be used to collect data on traffic patterns and vehicle speeds. License Plate Readers are also being used for a variety of other applications, such as:
- Toll collection
- Border control
- Access control
The use of License Plate Readers is growing rapidly. As the technology continues to improve, License Plate Readers will become even more widespread.
Using regular Security Cameras as ANPR cameras
Regular Security Cameras can be used as License Plate Readers with an additional software running on an additional server. Many videomanagement solutions (VMS) include basic license plate recognition functionality. For more advanced license plate recognition, dedicated video analytics software can be used.