Difference between a License Plate Recognition LPR and Automatic Number Plate Recognition ANPR

License Plate Recognition (LPR) and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)- Is there a difference between these two? If this question is troubling you, then here’s the answer to it.

In reality, there is no big difference between a License Plate Recognition and Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Infact, LPR and ANPR are two different terms used to describe the hardware and software used for license plate recognition and capturing those number plates using surveillance camera systems.

In generalized terms, LPR is used to describe specially made CCTV cameras which are capable of dealing with challenges associated with capturing license plates such as car speeds, fog, night vision and reflective license plate materials. But now, even standard surveillance cameras are being used for LPR functions these days, due to the availability of better sensors and additional computing power.

While, ANPR stands for Automatic Number Plate Recognition and is a term used to describe the software that takes input from an LPR camera and recognizes the alpha numeric characters on a plate using the software, and then this analyzed data gained through the software can be stored in a video storage or can be used to match it up against database records.

Automatic Number Plate Recognition was introduced in the year 1976 at the Police Scientific Development Branch in United Kingdom. By the year 1979, the department started to use prototype systems and the first arrest was made in 1981 with the help of ANPR detection.

Some ANPR/LPR systems have the ability to capture the image of a driver along with the number plate image and text. These systems usually use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take a picture at any time of the day and irrespective of the light conditions.

Relative speed of the car is one of the major issues which hinder the ability of the LPR/ANPR system to read a license plate. Sometimes weather, shutter speed, Field of view and the angle between the camera and the license plate can also cause troubles.

Advantages of using license plate recognition or automated number plate recognition technology are-

  • With the help of this technology, pre-paid parking members can be easily differentiated from non-members.
  • With the ability to capture the driver’s image, car hijacking can be prevented to a large extent.
  • By having a list of stolen cars and unpaid fines in the database, identification of cars with such history can be easily made and real time alerts can be obtained, as soon as the car is located on a highway or at a signal.
  • Traffic congestions can be lowered, by diverting different vehicles into different lanes with the help of their entry permits.
  • Those persons or vehicles whose presence is barred from entry can be easily identified.
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