The Benefits of Using ANPR(Automatic Number Plate Recognition) Cameras
you want an example of how much security camera technology has evolved rapidly in the past few decades, look no further than Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
Initially, ANPR cameras were used primarily by police officers to identify vehicles that were guilty of traffic violations or involved in criminal activity. Over time, the use of ANPR cameras expanded into other areas, such as car park management and intelligent traffic management for local authorities. Today, ANPR technology is a feasible option for all business owners and can be used to better secure their properties and automate tasks.
In this post, we explore the uses and advantages of ANPR cameras and how you can use them within your company.
What are ANPR Cameras?
Let’s begin by covering what ANPR cameras are, how they work, and what their key features are.
What are ANPR Cameras?
An ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera is an advanced security camera that uses optical character recognition (OCR) and other image processing techniques to identify a vehicle’s registration number.
What is the Purpose of ANPR Cameras?
The purpose of ANPR cameras is to quickly identify vehicles by their registration numbers. This has a range of applications including law enforcement, car park management systems, automated vehicle access, and traffic management systems
What are the Key Features of an ANPR Camera?
- Advanced Functionality
Because ANPR cameras need to scan number plates on vehicles travelling at high speeds and in poorly lit and adverse weather conditions, they feature high-resolution lenses and other advanced components.
ANPR cameras contain a database in which they store the data on each vehicle they process. When an ANPR camera scans a vehicle’s number plate, it can check it against entries in its database to determine if it’s of interest. This can be utilised in several ways: in law enforcement, for instance, the police can check if the scanned vehicle has broken the law in some way. Similarly, a car park management system can determine how long a vehicle has parked and, subsequently, how much it should be charged.
Another important feature of ANPR cameras is that they process the information on board and don’t have to communicate with a server to identify vehicles. This means they can recognise number plates in less time and aren’t susceptible to server error or failure. Just as importantly, they’re easy to install as a result.
- Machine Learning Algorithms
ANPR cameras use AI techniques to improve their ability to read vehicle number plates. Through machine learning, the more images a camera processes, the better its ability to identify patterns and recognise characters on number plates in a wider range of circumstances.
How do ANPR Cameras work?
In short, ANPR cameras work by taking an image of a vehicle’s number plate and comparing it against entries in its database.
First, the ANPR camera will capture an image of a vehicle. This footage is then passed through the camera’s processing unit, which locates the vehicle’s number plate, or vehicle registration marks (VRM). With the VRM isolated, the camera can identify the letters and characters on the number plate with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.
The image of the number plate and the vehicle’s registration number are then saved and checked against a database. Depending on the purpose of the ANPR system, the database may contain a blacklist, i.e., the vehicle is cause for concern, warrants investigation, etc., or a whitelist, i.e., it’s permitted to be there, should be allowed entry, etc.
The Benefits of ANPR Cameras
Now you have a better idea of how they work, let’s look at the main benefits of ANPR cameras.
- Additional Security
While security cameras make a property more secure in general, an ANPR camera’s image processing capabilities add a layer of protection. An ANPR’s ability to recognise number plates and compare them against known vehicles gives you an edge against suspected criminal activity. Instead of being left to react to a crime, ANPR cameras allow you to be proactive in protecting your property and take appropriate measures to prevent a crime from even occurring in the first place.
- Automated Functionality
An ANPR camera can recognise number plates much faster than a person – and in a wider range of circumstances, i.e., on a fast-moving vehicle, under poor visibility, etc. Plus, an ANPR camera can store information on thousands of vehicles in its database and cross-reference them in seconds, which is much more reliable than a person’s memory and judgement.
Also, if a crime takes place, an ANPR system will automatically highlight all the vehicles in the recorded footage, making it easier to pinpoint and track criminals. This makes it easier for security guards, police, and other authorities to review the footage.
- Real-time Recognition
ANPR cameras can recognise number plates and check them against their database in real-time, which is invaluable in a range of scenarios. Firstly, when it comes to crime prevention, an ANPR camera can determine if a vehicle is suspicious, or of interest, almost instantly. Alternatively, if an organisation uses ANPR technology to automate vehicle access, its real-time recognition capabilities make it an ideal solution for managing access for a large volume of vehicles.
Whether security guards or car park or toll booth attendants, an ANPR camera reduces the need for personnel in many situations, which can reduce staffing costs. More importantly, ANPR cameras can operate 24/7 without succumbing to fatigue, sickness, or injury, making them more efficient and robust than their human counterparts.
What are some of The Popular Uses of ANPR Cameras?
Now that we know what ANPR cameras are and how they work, let’s take a look at some of their most common applications.
- Law Enforcement
Law enforcement was one of the first uses of ANPR technology and is still one of its primary applications today. Police and other law enforcement agencies can use ANPR cameras to check if a vehicle has been stolen or involved in criminal activity, is properly registered and insured, or has been involved in any traffic violations. The ability to detect and recognize number plates in real-time allows authorities to not only identify vehicles but track their location as well.
- Car Park Management Systems
ANPR cameras can be used to make car parking management more efficient using ticketless parking. Instead, each vehicle’s number plate is tracked as it enters and leaves the car park and automatically charges them based on the amount of time they were there.
This presents many benefits as users of the car park no longer have to handle car park tickets, eliminating the possibility of ticket loss, inaccurate payments, and any type of ticket fraud. Better still, the owner of the car park can program the ANPR cameras to account for a range of scenarios, such as maximum stays and limited free parking.
- Vehicle Access Management
Similarly, businesses that frequently have vehicles coming in and out of their premises can use ANPR cameras to automatically control their entry and exit. Authorised vehicles can be added to the camera’s database.
- Intelligent Traffic Management Systems
Local authorities can utilise ANPR technology to measure and analyse traffic data for an entire town or city – or a particular area within it. ANPR cameras can provide insights into congestion, peak traffic times, and average journey times to aid in traffic management strategies. This includes automatically adjusting traffic signals to ease congestion and to help public transport services remain on schedule.
- Automatic Tool Booths
ANPR cameras are a crucial component in automatic, or “free flow” toll booth management. Instead of having to stop and pay at a manned booth, a driver can pay their toll ahead of time, or automatically, with an ANPR system checking the vehicle against its database. Not only is this more efficient, as it doesn’t require human intervention, but it also improves the flow of traffic around toll booths as vehicles don’t have to slow down.
ANPR Cameras For Your Business
Although ANPR cameras have several popular applications, they can also be used by businesses of all types for several purposes.
As with any security camera, an ANPR camera can help deter crime and other unauthorised activity by simply being there. The presence of the ANPR camera can cause the person under surveillance to think twice about what they were about to do, whether that’s committing a crime, parking in an unauthorised space, etc.
You can also use ANPR Cameras to monitor activity around your property. Additionally, if a crime does take place on your property, the cameras will record high-resolution footage that you can present to the police to help them catch those responsible. On a similar note, the footage will come in extremely handy if you need to claim your business insurance.
- Crime Prevention
ANPR cameras can be used to proactively prevent crime as well as deter it. If, for instance, a vehicle has been seen close to your property on several occasions, it can be added to your database. Then, if it returns, it will trigger an alarm that alerts your or your staff to its presence.
- Event Tracking
As well as alerting you to the presence of suspicious vehicles, ANPR Cameras can be programmed to trigger an alarm for specific vehicles for work-related purposes. For example, you can program it to alert you to the arrival of a supplier’s vehicle, so you know when you’re receiving a new stock delivery.
- Automatic Vehicle Access
When coupled with a gate, or barrier of some kind, ANPR cameras can be used to automate vehicle access for businesses. When a vehicle approaches the entrance, the ANPR system can check its number plate against a whitelist stored in its database. If the vehicle is on the whitelist, the gate will open and permit it access. If it isn’t on the other hand, the vehicle’s driver will then have to speak to a security guard or another employee, but this is only necessary for unfamiliar vehicles.
This is especially useful for businesses with a large fleet of vehicles consistently entering and leaving the premises, as the ANPR cameras can facilitate their entry and exit without human intervention. It’s also handy for companies that deal have restricted staff car parks or deal with a lot of deliveries and collections.
ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras are a special type of security camera that use image processing techniques, like optical character recognition (OCR) to read a vehicle’s registration number.
ANPR cameras work by taking an image of a vehicle’s number plate and comparing it against entries in its database.
Benefits of ANPR cameras include:
- Additional security
- Automated functionality
- Real-time recognition
Common uses of ANPR cameras include:
- Law enforcement
- Car park management systems
- Vehicle access management
- Intelligent traffic management systems
- Automatic tool booths
ANPR Cameras can be used by businesses for the following purposes:
- Crime prevention
- Event tracking
- Automatic vehicle access
Do you think ANPR cameras can benefit your business?
To discuss how you could use ANPR technology within your company, or any other aspect of your property’s security, give us a call or drop us a line, for a free onsite security assessment.
Kylie Butchard is a highly respected and experienced leader in Australia’s electronic security industry, having successfully steered Pacific Security Group for over 17 years. With a career embedded in customer service, she has consistently focused on putting people first – clients and staff. Known for her strong, resilient, positive, values-driven, consistent, and compassionate approach, Kylie ensures that her team delivers top-notch security solutions tailored to clients’ unique needs.