The History of ANPR

The History of ANPR is considerably longer than most people realise. Because of its prolific use in more recent years for a broad range applications such as traffic studies, access control and parking, many people, if asked, would guess at it being an invention belonging to this millennium.

Surprising to most people, the history of ANPR stretches into the last century as it was invented in 1976 in the UK at what was then know as the Police Scientific Development Branch (PSDB) (now titled Home Office Scientific Development Branch) and early systems were developed for use from 1979.

Early trial systems were deployed in the UK on the A1 Road and at the Dartford Tunnel crossing on the M25 motorway and the first arrest that was credited to ANPR detection of a stolen car did not come until 1981.

Since its inception, ANPR Technology has evolved and adapted with the times, finding new outlets and applications taking it beyond the boundaries of just policing and security. Below are a few notable milestones along our journey to date:

  • 1993 - ANPR is deployed for the first time as part of a "Ring of Steel" camera network around the City of London. The project was the largest operation of its type ever seen at the time and was implemented by the London Metropolitan Police in a bid to end the string of Terrorist bombings in the financial district, by the IRA.
  • 1997 - The Police National ANPR Data Centre (NADC) formed as an extension to the Police National Computer service. Prior to the creation of the NADC, data collected from ANPR systems was localised within the respective police force that operated the cameras, but the National ANPR Data Centre allowed for analysis across police force boundaries, by centralising all Police ANPR data from around the UK.
  • 2003 - The London Congestion Charge scheme is introduced which was aimed at reducing traffic in central London for a number of reasons. The charge zone, which covers 20 square kilometers of the capital, is operated by Transport for London and compromises of a ring of almost 700 ANPR cameras that are trained on every road in and out of the Charging Zone. This marks the first large scale use of ANPR for civil purposes.
  • 2005 - ANPR International Limited formed - 18th May 2005 to be exact. Born out of a belief that ANPR technology could do a lot more than it had already had to date. Its first development comes with the creation of the eyeTRAFFIC back office platform, which is designed to handle ANPR data from a number of different network sources and process the data through a range of modular applications.
  • 2006 - ANPR International deployed its first static camera system for Parking Management - bayGAURDIAN which is the first module built for the eyeTRAFFIC back office system. The system allowed car park operators to monitor vehicles in and out of car parks, calculating the amount of time a vehicle spent on site and automatically identifying those vehicles that were not authorised or stayed too long.
  • 2007 - bayGUARDIAN module is extended with integration into Charge Parking equipment. The system fully integrates with a range of Pay & Display meters, to allow the back office systems to automatically detect a vehicle that has not paid for parking or paid too little.
  • 2009 - ANPR International develops its first mobile ANPR product - streetSWEEPER, which is designed for multiple applications including Traffic surveys, Mobile surveillance and untaxed vehicle enforcement for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). On its first day on the road in Central London, streetSWEEPER detects over 27 untaxed vehicles in just a few hours.
  • 2011 - roadGUARDIAN system developed and deployed to combat issue of vehicles short cutting through prohibited roadways to avoid congestion "Rat-running". System deployed in conjunction with a County Council and detections enforced by the Police who issue Fixed Penalty Notice to any offender.
  • 2012 - First Vehicle Damage Recording System (DRS) developed to record vehicle conditions of arriving vehicles at Airport valet parking area, in order to prevent fraudulent insurance claims for vehicle damage against the airport staff. System linked a 360 deg. image of the vehicle to its registration number, providing a quick and easy means of recovering and analysing the images in the event of a claim from the motorist.
  • 2013 - ANPR International wins Technology Award for mobile traffic survey work carried out for Gloucestershire County Council. The survey uses a fleet of streetSWEEPER equipped vehicles to collect data on traffic profiles and parking habits around a number of towns and cities to help the Council in better understanding traffic flows and vehicle use.
  • 2014 - speedSENTINEL developed to address issues with speeding in public transport interchanges. The Sentinel was designed to be a trailer mounted speed camera system that could be towed to Transport interchanged and deployed at random to ensure that Bus & Coach operators adhered to the strict speed limits imposed for pedestrian safety in the busy stations.
  • 2016 - Vehicle Damage Recording System (DRS) extended to include dual lane capture, allowing for multiple lanes and up to 14 cameras to be integrated with ANPR data and vehicle pre-booking software to speed up the customer experience and increase convenience. The first dual lane system goes live at Doncaster Sheffield Airport with average times for visitors to drop-off their vehicle recorded at 32 seconds.
  • 2017 - ANPR International launches gateGUARDIAN as a retrofit barrier protection solution to address the safety issue of vehicle "Tail-gating" into or out of a barrier controlled car park. The first system goes live at a UK airport to address the high level of incidents with vehicles trying to avoid paying for parking in the premium pick-up and drop-off zone.
  • 2018 - The all new ASPEK Digital Camera range is launched which replaces our tried and tested D-ANPR range. The new range incorporates all new package design with greater on-board functionality and more features.

Our story still continues as we contribute to the history of ANPR. So if you would like to know more, please contact us using the links provided.

Old ANPR Cameras

New ANPR Cameras

ANPR Launches ASPEK Digital Camera Range

Vehicle Damage Recording System