Automatic License Plate Recognition Goes Mobile

Stationary Automatic License Plate Recognition Systems (ALPR) are common throughout the industrialized world. However, a new mobile Automatic License Plate Recognition System is now available in British Columbia, and may be cruising down a road near you soon.

This system can capture up to 3,000 license plates per hour. It has three cameras mounted outside the police vehicle.

  • Front left side
    This camera is used to capture license plates of oncoming vehicles.
  • Front right side
    This camera is used to capture license plates of cars in the right-hand lane (on a four or more lane road), as well as cars parked on the right side of the road.
  • Rear right-angle camera
    This camera captures the license plates of parked cars in a parking lot.
This system seems to be an advance over previous systems, which were either stationary or were drive-by parking lot control systems.

(Video of Automatic License Plate Recognition System )

At the outset of a shift, the on-board computer in the police vehicle downloads a list of all plates of stolen vehicles, plates of known uninsured vehicles and plates of known unlicensed drivers. As the police vehicle proceeds down the road, it compares the license plate of every car it sees to the database.

An audible alarm sounds whenever the system discovers a car on the "hot list." The system is installed in unmarked cars as well as standard police cruisers.

(ALPR software screen ID in progress)

Automated systems to read license plate numbers were first used in the UK; prototypes in 1976 gave way to established systems by 1981 (when the first stolen car was detected with such a system).

However, science fiction writers have thought about such systems for a while longer. In his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children, Robert Heinlein wrote about traffic control cameras:

She signaled the traffic control ahead; it cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car, then rang the alarm which notified her to resume local control. Before doing so she fumbled in the storage compartment on the instrument board and fumbled, apparently purposelessly.

But the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway was not the number in which the car was registered.

It's interesting to note that exactly the same scheme was tried along Canada's 401 highway. It is reported that a driver used a wire leading from the interior of the car to the front plate to switch to an alternate plate while driving through camera zones. (Since it has been reported on, the system obviously needed more work!)

ALPR systems have obvious applications in and around airports and other secure zones. However, there are also a variety of legitimate concerns raised about such systems, and whether or not the extensive database searches intrude upon the privacy of individuals.

For more stories and information on this topic, read

From MobileMag via CR4; see also an extensive wiki article on ANPR and ALPR.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/13/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Surveillance ")

Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'- Jack Williamson, 1931.

Snap Specs - Snapchat Spectacles - Are Video Glasses
'The old woman laid her wire-knitting aside and fixed them with the bug-eyed, opaque gape...' David Brin, 1990.

Bradbury's Method Used In Search For Bombing Suspect
'He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards, into alleys...' - Ray Bradbury, 1953.

Drone 100, Coordinated Drone Performance Team
'The real border was... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995.



Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

GyroGlove Idea For Parkinson's Was Suggested In 1926
'The gyroscope was revolving at the rate of three thousand revolutions a minute, and the slight humming was hardly noticeable...'

Otto Self-Driving Truck Kit Delivers Budweiser Beer
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'

Untethered Drone Gets Wireless Power
'We'll use my 'broomstick'.'

ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne
'... might [it] not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?'

Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.

Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'

How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'

'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'

proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'

Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'

Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'

FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.

BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.