LPR Camera

An LPR (License Plate Recognition) camera is a type of equipment used in the detection of license plate numbers. The camera is interfaced with a special computer software that helps read the numbers. The LPR camera is set up in such a way that it clicks pictures of the front as well as the rear license plate of the vehicle in question. These images are then fed into the software which works on identifying the plates and isolating the license number. LPR cameras have a wide range applications and are highly useful in several areas such as regulation of traffic, identification of stolen vehicles, as well as tracking vehicles. LPR cameras have been found to be so useful that many countries use them as a standard equipment of law enforcement.

In general, a multiple unit type of configuration is used while setting up LPR cameras. This enables pictures of a vehicle to be clicked from several different angles. It is important to note that these cameras not only take pictures of the license plate, but also that of the driver and the car. This has proven to be valuable evidence during law enforcement procedures. For instance, a person receiving a traffic ticket for speeding based information derived from the LPR camera may claim that the software did not identify the plate correctly. The photographic evidence of the make and color of the car as well as the driver is undeniable proof in such a case.

LPR cameras are safe to use and do not disrupt drivers or traffic in any way whatsoever. When it takes a picture, the camera emits a light of low wavelength to illuminate the object to be photographed. This causes minimal disturbance to drivers and enables photographs to be taken at any time during the day irrespective of the amount of lighting available. The reason for this illumination is that the contrast on the license plate is increased and this makes it easy to identify the characters printed on it. Once the software identifies the licenses plate number, a ticket may be issued in case of a person violating traffic rules and regulations. Stolen vehicles or criminals in vehicles with known license plate numbers are more easily identifiable.

Due to the difference in the type of license plates used by different countries, LPR cameras need to be customized before they can be used. In the UK, these cameras go by the name ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras and in the US, LPR or ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) cameras. In the US, there are several variable factors that can affect the accuracy of the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software used with the LPR cameras. The main issue is that different states in the US have differently designed license plates that need to be recognized. The other factors include the color and shape of the plate as well as the characters on the plate. In some cases, the characters on the plate being flat or raised can make a difference to the accuracy.

The use of LPR cameras, however, has not been without controversy. In many people there is a fear of being misidentified by an automated system of justice. The fact that a machine’s judgment cannot be appealed to, is a cause of concern for several citizens. Some have raised concerns about the Government retaining information about people including their photographs, daily life and driving habits. In spite of these concerns, LPR cameras are still being put to use with a fairly successful track record so far. Some of the other uses of LPR cameras are at gas filling stations (to log when a driver gets away without making payment) and also as a marketing tool to keep a track of consumer usage patterns.

This LPR Camera Review is Written/Updated on May 7th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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