What if you were told that traffic or no traffic, your vehicle can be easily identified amid a sea of moving or stationary vehicles, small and big, at any given time without any human intervention? Yes, that is exactly what the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology does. An efficient tool for mass surveillance, the ANPR technology has become an essential means to manage the traffic movement and identify defaulters in many cities across the world.

According to Transparency Market Research, the global revenues from the ANPR technology are likely to cross $5 billion by 2030. Over the last year, in the face of the ongoing pandemic, the ANPR technology was adopted by many countries such as India and the United Kingdom to monitor COVID-related violations.

Understanding the ANPR technology

ANPR is a high-speed and accurate image capturing and processing system that is used to identify a vehicle through its license plate number. The ANPR technology does this by:

  • Detecting the vehicle using high-speed cameras.
  • Using optical character recognition technology to read the license plate number.
  • Using the captured data to match the stored vehicle data such as registered owner name and vehicle registration date.

The ANPR technology is becoming increasingly popular owing to its accurate data collection without any human intervention. The technology is also driven by a host of underlying technologies such as advanced cameras for vehicle tracking and artificial intelligence for faster and accurate decision making.

The ANPR technology and traffic management

The ANPR technology can be used in different areas of traffic management such as:

1. Reducing traffic violations

Traffic enforcement agencies have traditionally used the ANPR systems to detect traffic violations including over-speeding, traffic signal violations and even the identification of stolen vehicles. While the technology has been in use for this purpose in many developed countries such as North America, it is now becoming popular even in developing countries such as India as an effective tool to detect traffic violations.

A successful example of making the best of the technology is that of the Nashville-based Mount Juliet Police Department which deployed the ANPR technology to track stolen vehicles and weapons in the area.

2. Smarter traffic flow management

It is a known fact that improved road networks and infrastructure directly translates to an increase in the urban population as well as traffic density. Therefore, smarter traffic management has become the key to ensuring or improving the quality of life and time spent on the roads. With real-time traffic data collected through ANPR systems, traffic management officials can now track the increase in vehicular traffic across the city and determine solutions for traffic congestions. City planners can utilise this data to predict the future utilisation of road networks and the best way to manage current and future traffic flow.

3. Public safety initiatives

Advanced vehicle recognition systems can also be effective in boosting public safety in our cities. For example, real-time traffic data can be utilised by traffic police officials for detecting and tracing traffic violations such as high-speed and wrong side driving that are threats to law-abiding citizens on the roads. Habitual traffic offenders can also be added to a traffic watchlist and can be specially monitored for any road safety violations.

One of the best examples of using ANPR for public safety is when during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Western Australia, the authorities used high-speed cameras to track the movement of infected persons and thereby, slowing the spread of the disease.

4. Parking and toll collection

Apart from impacting traffic-related violations or crimes, the number plate recognition technology can also be used to improve the overall road experience. With the rising demand for parking spaces in our cities, smart (or technology-based) parking systems are the only solution. The ANPR systems installed at parking facilities can monitor and record the entry and exit of vehicles, and automatically allocate (or release) parking spaces. Similarly, electronic toll systems have become convenient for both vehicle owners and toll collectors as they offer a smarter mode of collecting payments.

5. Revenue generation

Vehicle recognition using license plate identification can ultimately help our cities generate much-needed revenue and improve their road infrastructure budget. Through better monitoring and scanning, this technology can increase state revenue by automatically levying and collecting fines in the case of traffic violations.

In addition, other avenues for increasing traffic revenues include congestion charges (in specific zones), parking charges, licensing revenues, insurance violations and so on. For example, the London Transport Authority has deployed the ANPR systems to automatically collect congestion charges from motorists moving within a restricted charge zone during weekdays.

Conclusion

The automatic number plate recognition technology is the key to capturing real-time traffic data and managing traffic in congested cities. The growing number of surveillance cameras and sensory devices, along with improved AI and data processing solutions, has made this technology today's reality. Whether it is to monitor traffic offenders or manage smooth traffic flow, this technology has a wide range of real-world use cases.

Airface offers a wide range of smart solutions that can convert any camera or surveillance data into real-time insights that can be used to improve safety measures. How can Airface assist you in developing the right vehicle recognition technology? Contact us today for a free demo.

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