First used by the police in the UK in 1980, a number plate recognition system or ANPR system is an integral part of efficient traffic management and enforcement. The system relies on the use of high speed image/video capturing cameras to click or record moving vehicles as they pass by the installed cameras. The recorded licence plate data is matched with stored data and information processing takes place after data analysis to give an insight of vehicles moving in a particular direction.
Originally, the police used ANPR systems to detect and prevent crimes. By installing cameras in the fixed positions in highly accident or crime prone areas, the police can monitor and track traffic movements and keep a close watch on suspicious vehicles.
Advantages of Automatic Number Plate Recognition Systems
Using ANPR systems is highly beneficial. Here are some notable benefits of using automated number plate recognition systems:
- Added security – An automatic number plate recognition system works as a deterrent. The knowledge that vehicles with their number plates are being monitored and recorded can be a signal for ill-mannered people. They avoid committing crimes in particular areas. This system is highly useful for the police who need data on vehicles to find suspicious vehicles in particular cities. Further, the system provides both incriminating and alibis data. It helps enhance security in the parking area of a commercial or residential complex by allowing no parking to new or suspicious vehicles.
- Automated services – This application is a cost-effective and efficient way to manage parking sites. Due to its higher accuracy, a number plate recognition system is more efficient in comparison with manual parking management. It offers contactless entry and exit from a parking area by reading the number plate as the vehicle passes by the installed camera at entry and exit points. It can help receive payment at parking or toll plaza automatically without having a stop there.
- Real-time information – Due to its capability to record, store, and process data in real-time, an automated number plate recognition system is highly beneficial for many sectors. Usually, reading the number plates and granting permission to a particular vehicle or managing speed limit manually is a time-consuming task. However, with ANPR systems, the work in real-time becomes more comfortable and efficient. The system offers higher accuracy in comparison with a conventional system.
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Disadvantages of Automated Number Plate Recognition Systems
In spite of being highly beneficial, there are some concerns and flaws with ANPR systems. Here are some significant disadvantages of automatic number number plate systems:
- Privacy concerns – The use of this system can make many people raise privacy concerns. Such people can be the ones who do not like the idea of data storation of common users for months. They are afraid of thefts, misuse, and leaks of their personal data. Further, these people do not love to disclose where they are at what time. The system stores data securely and processes the same in the need of a crime investigation.
- Extreme circumstances – This system is not fully safe for car parking. The installed cameras might not work in extreme weather conditions such as cyclones or heavy rains. Due to bad weather, cameras may not process the required data at the time of entry or exit of a particular vehicle. Some cameras may not recognise number plates of vehicles, causing security issues. Working with a mix of automated and manual car parking management, concerned authorities can get rid of this issue.
- Human behaviour – This system does not rely on human behaviour and errors. It does not consider a grace period produced to a particular vehicle owner or driver. Here, it means the system can charge a vehicle owner even if he/she does not find a space to park his/her car. A mistyped ticket can prohibit a vehicle from having an entry or exit.
Automatic number plate recognition systems have both advantages and disadvantages in their implementation. Development work is going on to get rid of the existing flaws. And there would be a day when this system would have no issues and nobody would raise an issue on its usage.