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Automatic license plate recognition (ALPR)

Status: In progress
July 5, 2012

Automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) is a mass surveillance method that uses optical character recognition on images to read and recognize number. They can use existing closed circuit are road-rule enforcement cameras, or ones specifically designed for the task. They are used by various police forces and as a method of toll collection on pay-per- user roads and cataloging the movements of traffic or individuals.

As new technologies become available to enforcement agencies around the world, the climate for offenders look set to become particularly uncomfortable and Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) will become one of the first technologies they are likely to encounter as it increases enforcement efficiency many fold.

The purpose of this project was to build a real time application which recognizes license plates from cars at a gate, for example at the entrance of a parking area. The system, based on regular PC with video camera, catches video frames which include a visible car license plate and processes them. Once a license plate is detected, its digits are recognized, displayed on the User Interface or checked against a database.

Due to the lack of time and resources, this project will focus on the design of algorithms used for extracting the license plate from a single image, isolating the characters of the plate and identifying the individual characters, and displaying on a graphical user interface.

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ALPR concept
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