8 Reasons to Use Intelligent License Plate Recognition Systems
AI-powered license plate recognition systems have become commonplace. We can witness their wide adoption in law enforcement, border control, defense, and security. According to PMR, the global market for automatic number plate recognition systems, valued at US$ 3.1 billion in 2022, is expected to reach US$ 6.8 billion in 2032. The high demand for intelligent LPR systems is due to the wide range of benefits this technology can offer its users. They not only help to enhance security but also improve the customer experience and reduce costs. Governments also contribute to market growth by increasing funding for intelligent transport systems.
In this article, we'll cover how LPR systems work and how various organizations can benefit from this technology.
What is LPR?
License plate recognition (LPR) is a computer vision technology that uses optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning algorithms to read license plate numbers and automatically identify vehicles. For this, LPR systems use images or videos from multiple cameras. They also collect data, which is further processed and analyzed by matching it with integrated databases, security systems, traffic management systems, or parking management systems.
Due to AI, this process is fast and accurate. Algorithms are trained on a dataset of thousands of different images coming from various sources and of varying quality. This helps to increase the performance, accuracy, cost-efficiency, and scalability of license plate recognition software. Advanced LPR systems like Scylla have a high accuracy rate of more than 99.7% and can recognize plates from multiple cameras on fast-moving cars in real time. They can operate under challenging conditions, such as poor lighting, glare, and extreme weather. It can seamlessly integrate with existing video management systems and include such a valuable feature as access control that can automatically authorize or deny access to secured areas based on vehicle license plate numbers.
What are the benefits of AI license plate recognition?
AI-powered LPR technology can be used in a variety of applications, including security, surveillance, traffic management, and parking management, to provide fast, accurate, and automated license plate recognition.
1. Enhance public safety
Leveraging LPR for law enforcement purposes is the most common application of these systems. They offer more convenience and efficiency, helping the police force to solve crimes and prevent accidents. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, seven out of ten crimes happen in vehicles. With LPR systems, police solve around 600 to 700 crimes daily, which is about 3% of all reported crimes in the United States. They assist in identifying vehicles associated with criminal activity, and locating and tracking stolen cars. They also prove to be a valuable tool for checking the license or registration status of vehicles. The information gathered by cameras can be used to search for evidence and check lines of inquiry in the investigation of crimes. Due to AI, this tedious process is now fast, accurate, and more effective.
2. Increase Security
For organizations, using license plate recognition systems is one way to provide an extra layer of security at their facilities. Along with the video surveillance cameras used to monitor the perimeter, they can control access to their premises by creating a list of vehicles allowed on the territory. The LPR system will quickly and accurately verify vehicles that enter or exit a parking lot or a controlled area within a business or private premises. The system will ensure that only authorized vehicles have access to these areas. When video surveillance cameras catch vehicles that don’t match a whitelist, access will be denied and automated alerts will be sent.
These systems can be used to identify patterns and trends in suspicious activities, which can help prevent security incidents. For example, they can spot and track vehicles that frequently visit a particular area.
3. Improve traffic management
The LPR system is an intelligent solution that can help to improve traffic management while enhancing road safety. Integrated into road cameras, they monitor traffic flow in real time and detect vehicles of interest, for example, those that exceed the speed limit, park illegally, or break other traffic rules. They can assist the police in searching for vehicles that have been involved in road accidents and spot stolen cars by comparing the license plate numbers of passing vehicles against a database of stolen ones. If a match is found, the system sends an alert to law enforcement, who can take appropriate action. Intelligent systems analyze real-time road situations, identify traffic bottlenecks, and provide valuable insights for more efficient and effective traffic management. For example, traffic management services can make decisions on how to reduce congestion, for example, by adjusting traffic signals or redirecting vehicles to alternative routes.
4. Increase efficiency in toll collection
License plate recognition systems significantly facilitate toll collection. They capture the license plate number of a vehicle as it passes through a toll booth, and the toll fee can be automatically charged to the owner's account. This eliminates the need for manual toll collection and reduces congestion associated with gates and cash lanes. Systems that utilize AI and machine learning can read plates of all types quickly and accurately and process multiple plates simultaneously, which makes them ideal for high-traffic areas. They effectively operate at any speed and any time of day, regardless of weather conditions.
5. Streamline parking management
License plate recognition systems are a must-have tool for parking services as they help to improve efficiency, enhance the customer experience, and cut costs. Utilizing this technology helps keep an accurate record of all vehicles entering and leaving a parking space, identify vehicles that are parked illegally, and monitor parking violations.
Video analytics seamlessly integrates with the existing surveillance system to monitor parking spaces in real time. The system can not only detect when a vehicle enters or leaves a parking space, but it can also provide real-time information on parking availability to drivers, helping to reduce congestion and potential accidents in parking lots.
Watchlist-based license plate recognition is a valuable solution for organizations that need to restrict access to the facility, granting access only to authorized personnel. Video analytics scans license plates as vehicles enter a parking lot and grants or denies access based on the lists of approved vehicles in your database. The system automatically flags unregistered vehicles and alerts the security team so that they can take action. This is particularly convenient for parking lots at workplaces, schools, or residential buildings.
LPR systems can enable automatic payment for parking, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free experience for drivers. They will not have to worry about losing their tickets and having to pay a higher fine. The system scans license plates as vehicles enter your parking lot, tracks the time spent in the facility, and stores the information in a database. Access and exit are granted or denied automatically. With AI, this process takes a fraction of a second and is not subject to human errors. This helps make managing parking lots safer, easier, and more efficient.
6. Gain valuable insights
Intelligent video analytics allows organizations to make informed decisions on how to optimize operations, improve service, or provide better safety and security for customers. For example, AI-powered traffic flow analytics is used to generate reports on the number of vehicles passing through a particular area and identify peak hours. With a better understanding of traffic patterns, traffic managers can plan transportation infrastructure and services more effectively. It allows traffic management facilities to optimize traffic movement, improve traffic routes to reduce congestion, and manage incidents effectively. As for parking management services, they can use data on parking space occupancy, peak usage times, and average stay durations to streamline parking lot management, improve customer satisfaction, and increase revenue.
7. Enhance customer experience
Due to the automation of license plate recognition, vehicle identification goes quickly and accurately, making toll collection, parking service, or check-in processes faster and more convenient. Automated parking payment systems make it easy for customers to pay for parking without having to interact with an attendant or worry about having cash on hand. The system can automatically verify a vehicle by reading its license plate and charge the parking fee to the customer's account.
Intelligent license plate systems also have the potential to help businesses and organizations personalize service. Hospitality facilities, retailers, or drive-thru services can use the information on customer movements to better understand their needs and provide personalized recommendations or offers based on their previous purchases or activities.
8. Reduced costs
By automating the process of recognizing license plates, companies can save money. Firstly, LPR technology helps reduce costs associated with manual monitoring. AI technology helps to avoid human errors and inefficiencies. LPR systems perform vehicle verification quickly and accurately. By leveraging the insights provided by AI analytics, organizations can make data-driven decisions that help optimize workflow and increase staff efficiency. So, there is no need for numerous security personnel or traffic management staff. Besides, using LPR systems also eliminates the need for physical permits or parking tickets.
LPR systems have become a necessity for law enforcement, border control, traffic management, and parking facilities, among others, allowing them to improve security and public safety, increase staff efficiency, optimize traffic management, and create a seamless experience for customers.
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