ANPR apart from being part of our company name, is actually an abbreviation for the term Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Depending on the country or region you are in, this may also be referred to as LPR meaning License Plate Recognition.
Regardless of whether you refer to the technology as ANPR or LPR they are both just different terms for the exact same product, namely the ability to capture an image of a vehicle and from that image extract details relating to its number plate or license plate into some form of text string which can then be processed or indexed in some form of database.
ANPR / LPR technology incorporates a number of key components into to deliver the solution. A typical system will employ the following:
- A Camera - either analogue or digital to capture the image of the vehicle to be read, images can be either taken from Infrared or Colour or be a mixture of both.
- A Processing Engine - this is sometimes a server or can be built within the camera and breaks the feed from the camera into a series of frames so that the ANPR engine can acquire the number plate details
- The ANPR Engine - this is a piece of software that analysis the images, to identify the vehicle in each picture frame and from that determine, first where the number/license plate is located on the vehicle and then secondly to actually convert the image data from the number/license plate into machine readable data.
- The ANPR Library - this is another piece of software and it is used by the ANPR engine as a reference guide to know what a number/licence plate should look like and importantly how the characters used on a number plate are formatted. This allows the ANPR engine to not only distinguish a number plate from other lettering such as a telephone number written on the side of a Truck or Bus, but also to be able to classify where a vehicle originates from since each Country or Region have their own type of formatting for vehicle plates.
Whilst ANPR/LPR technology can come in many different packages, they all perform the same basic function which is to provide a highly accurate system/method of reading a vehicles number / license plate without the intervention from a human operator. This ability to detect and read large volumes of fast moving vehicles has meant that ANPR / LPR technology has found its way into many aspects of today's digital landscape.
ANPR / LPR system can be seen in use daily within the motoring environment, being used in a variety of ways, some examples of which are outlined below.
- Vehicle Access Control
- Vehicle delivery tracking
- Parking Management
- Traffic and Journey Time Analysis
- Tolling & Road User Billing
- Traffic, Red-light & Bus Lane Enforcement
- Speed Ameliation
- Weighbridges Intergration
- Site Security
- Customer Service and Direction
- Policing and Security Services Intelligence Gathering
Whilst the above list is quite extensive there are still many more areas where ANPR is being utilised in daily life, and its no longer just the camera are the side of the road or at the barrier to the car park, ANPR as a technology has become over the years mobile, first being deployed in vehicles, but now more recently with the advent of smart phone technology, many ANPR systems have become handheld too.