License plates haven't changed much since their introduction in 1893, but the technology that works in tandem with license plates has advanced quite a lot.
Today, automatic license plate recognition (LPR) cameras and technology are used for a wide range of purposes. With LPR cameras, businesses and government organizations can automatically detect which vehicles enter and leave areas of interest.
To better understand the role that this technology plays in the world today, let's take at how LPR technology works, the benefits it provides, and how to choose the right license plate recognition system for improving your operations.
What Is License Plate Recognition (LPR)?
LPR systems are used for license plate detection and vehicle recognition, enabling security cameras to read license plate numbers and convert the data into a text format for easy dataset management.
This capability provides organizations with several powerful functionalities, from helping law enforcement detect stolen cars to helping logistics companies track the movement of their fleets.
How Does LPR Work?
LPR systems use advanced technology to collect real-time license plate data automatically. This includes optical character recognition algorithms, machine learning, and AI neural networks. Once a camera in the system captures a vehicle's license plate image, this technology can automatically read the characters on the license plate and convert them into a text format.
LPR systems can also be paired with other technologies for even more capabilities and use cases, including access control systems and automated security alerts.
How Is License Plate Recognition Used?
Today, LPR technology is used for a variety of use cases, including:
Parking Management and Access Control
LPR technology is one of the best ways to improve the security of a parking lot or parking garage, allowing organizations to automatically track all vehicles entering and leaving the parking area.
Along with being used for security purposes, parking lots that charge for parking often use LPR cameras to track who has and hasn't paid for parking for more efficient parking enforcement. When paired with access control systems, LPR technology can also be used to manage which vehicles are allowed to enter and exit a designated area.
Security and Surveillance
LPR technology is often used by schools, military facilities, and other high-security locations to improve the location's security. With the right system, organizations can create hot lists of vehicles that are not allowed to enter the area and set up automated security alerts that will go off if a vehicle on the list is detected.
Even for surveillance purposes alone, LPR cameras are beneficial since they make it easy to identify a vehicle of interest when reviewing security footage.
Warehouse and Fleet Management
LPR technology can improve the efficiency of warehouse operations by allowing organizations to automatically keep tabs on vehicles that are entering and leaving the warehouse.
Access control is often an important element of warehouse management as well, and LPR technology makes it easy to set up automated access control systems for vehicles.
LPR technology allows shippers and logistics companies to track when the trucks in their fleets arrive at and exit designated locations. For example, automatically tracking which vehicles have arrived at a shipping hub.
Along with helping streamline incident resolution, the LPR data that logistics companies collect can also be used to analyze and improve operational efficiency.
Toll Collection and Traffic Management
Toll roads exist in 38 states and help fund the road's infrastructure. In most cases, toll roads allow vehicles that have purchased a pass to use the road freely while fining any vehicles that use the roads without paying the toll.
Since keeping up with which vehicles have and have not paid the toll manually would be more than anyone is capable of (and would be bound to cause major traffic jams), license plate recognition technology is a vital element of modern toll roads.
With the right automated license plate reader, the organizations managing toll roads can collect license plate information even if vehicles travel at high speeds, making it easy to issue fines for nonpayment.
Benefits of License Plate Recognition
Surveillance systems with LPR technology can provide numerous benefits to organizations, including:
Improved access control is one way that APLR cameras heighten security, allowing organizations to automatically control which vehicles are allowed to enter high-security areas.
Schools, government facilities, and other security-sensitive locations can also use LPR cameras to detect vehicles that don't belong in the location. For example, a school may set up automated security alerts if a vehicle that does not belong to a student or faculty member enters the school's parking lot.
In addition to helping prevent crime by flagging suspicious or unauthorized vehicles in real time, LPR technology is also valuable when reviewing historical video footage, allowing organizations to detect the vehicle shown on the footage when reviewing security incidents.
Better Operational Efficiency
Whether implementing access control systems or simply keeping tabs on which vehicles have entered and left a certain location, many organizations must track the movement of many vehicles as part of their day-to-day operations.
Doing this manually is a time-consuming and unreliable approach. But with LPR technology, organizations like shipping companies can automatically track the movement of their vehicles for improved operational efficiency.
Data is the fuel that powers modern companies, and the more high-quality data you have at your disposal, the better your organization's decision-making process will be.
For organizations that are required to track the movement of their vehicles, the data collected by LPR cameras can provide many insights. For example, a warehouse may use LPR cameras to track when vehicles enter and leave the warehouse to gather data on how long drivers are idling at the warehouse. This data can form insights into the organization's operational efficiency and highlight areas with room for improvement.
Improved Customer Experience
In addition to making things such as access control systems more efficient for your business, LPR technology can make them more efficient for your customers as well.
For example, a parking garage that utilizes LPR cameras to manage which vehicles are and are not allowed to enter the garage is likely to offer a much better customer experience than a parking garage that requires customers to enter their data manually. Or, a logistics company may use LPR technology to update its customers about the location and status of their shipments.
What To Look for in an LPR System
If you want to use license plate recognition technology to improve your organization's efficiency and security, here are the top features that you should look for in an LPR system:
Easy Installation and Use
Surveillance systems can often be tricky to install and configure, and surveillance systems with LPR technology are no exception. To avoid a lot of hassles and headaches, choose a system designed for easy installation.
At Spot AI, we've created a plug-and-play LPR-equipped camera system that can be installed and configured quickly — regardless of your technical experience. We are also happy to walk our customers through the installation process and provide exceptional ongoing support so that you always have a resource to turn to if and when issues with your system arise.
While it's important to purchase high-quality hardware (including high-resolution cameras that can capture license plate images even in low light conditions), the software in the system you choose will ultimately make or break your experience with it.
A quality LPR system should feature capable yet easy-to-use software. It should also feature software that integrates with other technologies, such as access control systems. With an intelligent security camera system such as Spot AI, you can do all of this — and automatically extract key insights from your LPR data.
Many camera systems that offer automatic number plate recognition technology are designed to work with only specific models of security cameras. This can be highly limiting when it comes to choosing the hardware for your system. And, if you already have security cameras in place, you may not be able to use them with the new system. However, Spot AI is a camera-agnostic system, meaning it can function with any LPR camera.
83% of organizations experience a data breach at some point, and that number continues to rise. This growing frequency of cybercrime makes it essential to properly safeguard the LRP data you collect.
This is why Spot AI automatically encrypts all video footage and data so you don't have to worry about your organization's sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.
Learn How LPR Can Improve Your Operations With Spot AI
License plate recognition and vehicle detection are just a few of the many powerful capabilities offered by Spot AI's industry-leading security camera system. If you want to start using LPR technology to improve the security and efficiency of your business, Spot AI's user-friendly, camera-agnostic system is the perfect choice for you!
Check out Spot AI's video intelligence features and learn more about how our advanced technology can improve your organization's operations today.