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 | del.icio.us | 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 ")

Bullied UK Student Uses Sunglass Video For Case
'Watching, all the time watching... goggle-eye geeks...'- David Brin, 1990.

AirDog Auto-Follow Drone Captures Your Awesomeness
'Tight mid-shot and pull out on but behind me...' -Karen Traviss, 2004.

Google's Project Wing Will Find You
'Mechanical entities that flit at the edges of our vision, that can go anywhere, that are in our very midst...' - Philip K. Dick, 1960.

CV Dazzle Anti-Surveillance Make-Up
'Let's hear it for the vague blur!'- Philip K. Dick, 1977.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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

Physicists Build Repulsor / Tractor Beam
'Brandon swung mighty tractor beams upon the severed halves of the Jovian vessel...'

High Fidelity Produces More Expressive Avatars!
'They are the audiovisual bodies that people use to communicate with each other...'

Will You Upload Your Mind Anytime Soon?
And if so, how long will the copy last?

Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Amazing ARES Augmented Reality Sandbox
'First he showed him where the input and output of his brand-new kingdom were, and how to program wars...'

'3D Light Sculpture' Projected Directly Onto Retina
'...projects directly on the retina of the eye…'

3D Printer Vending Machine Dispenses Dreams
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'

Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'

Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'

Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'

Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story
'Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail...'

Scheherazade, An Open Story Generator
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

Sample The In Vitro Meat Cookbook
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'

'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'

Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.