Automation is changing the world one innovation at a time. It’s altered the way we approach healthcare, business management, transportation, and even our homes. It allows us to achieve our goals faster and more precisely. When we aren’t bogged down by repetitive actions, we can reserve our skills for more important things. Automation has benefitted the parking solutions industry as much as any other, revolutionising vehicle access systems from every angle from point of sale systems and security to automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). The latter has undergone some exciting developments in recent years.
ANPR uses optical character recognition to collect data via closed-circuit televisions and cameras. The technology is so accurate that law enforcement teams around the world rely on it to check registrations and track traffic. In the parking industry, ANPR has obliterated bottlenecks by registering vehicles in mere moments. In making gateless entry possible, it reduces overhead costs without reducing the efficiency of your security strategy. Quite the opposite: it has the power to make your lots more secure than they’ve ever been.
How it Works
At its simplest, ANPR uses optical character recognition to read number plates and enter their location data. Infrared lighting can also be used to capture the vehicle itself. The interface with operating systems like Android or Windows and this is where their superpowers really shine. ANPR software can be transformed into an invaluable business intelligence program and point of sale system, automating your entire lot while simultaneously supporting your security strategy. License plate recognition goes beyond mere legacy solutions. It can trigger customer loyalty programs that are alerted every time a regular user enters your building. By combining traffic data, security cameras, and analytics, they can trigger business use-cases that make your customers feel like cherished friends—and you don’t need a single employee to achieve that.
Why You Need Ticketless Parking
ANPR is one of several technologies that support Advanced Access ticketless parking systems. At their most rudimentary, these solutions speed up your entry and access points to relieve bottlenecks. Congestion slows down your service and loses important, paying clients. It increases pollution in your lot and is demanding on your space requirements. Automated garages use 60% less volume and a 40% smaller footprint. All the circulation and queuing space you save can open up your parking lot to more clients while simultaneously boosting your customer retention rates.
How ANPR is Different from Other Automation
If you’ve been in the industry for a while, you’ve probably grown acquainted with a number of automated technologies. Biometrics, automated barriers, ticketing systems, and cloud-operated points of sale all play a key role in keeping your traffic moving. They have one important disadvantage, though: They require every car to slow down at your entrance and exit. Even the fastest automation can’t function without losing some speed, but ANPR is different. The fastest system in the industry can capture data at 260 miles an hour. It records plates so quickly that breaking becomes unnecessary. With that much capturing speed, you’ll never see a queue in your lot again. The system can also process goods vehicles, coaches, and service cars, so it can help you to keep track of your deliveries and staff routines.
How to Choose the Right ANPR System
Your system relies on a few important pieces of technology:
- A camera
- Data capturing software
- Infrared technology
- Point of sale software if required
In the past, ANPRs couldn’t interface with other software. Today’s solutions can incorporate number plate recognition software into other points of sale and loyalty programs. The best solutions have a shallow learning curve that doesn’t require complicated installations. Point of sale software can function alongside your camera to collect payments and personal information. Most products are open systems, so they can plug into any customer service programs you use. Extra software features like vehicle access rights and cloud databases can even add automation to your business administration.
Yesterday’s ANPR cameras were static. These days, they use their own software to move with the vehicle they’re recording. Low focal length products can even record the data of parked vehicles. They use several algorithms to improve accuracy. Plate localisation algorithms track and isolate the plate before orienting and sizing it. Normalisation algorithms adjust the image’s brightness, while character segmentation and optical character recognition find the plate’s characters. The geometric analysis compares those characters to country-specific syntax. In other words, poor lighting, low-quality images, and vehicle movements are no longer the obstacles they once were. The ANPR software of the Twenties can overcome your camera’s weaknesses exceptionally well.
ANPRs rely on cameras with built-in optical character recognition powers, often via infrared technology. The camera identifies the plate using infrared. Then it isolates it, adjusts the image, and divides it into characters. These are then analysed and converted into text. That data is sent to your access control software. ANPRs are only as effective as their camera resolutions. The lower the resolution, the more open it is to mistakes, so your image should dedicate at least 50 to 100 pixels to the plate itself.
The best ANPR cameras on the market can process 50 images a second at a resolution of around 1280 by 1024. They accurately record data at 40 km an hour in poor light from 5 to 10 metres away. Number plates aren’t as uniform as you might like, so your ANPR system will manage a variety of different layouts by comparing them to images in its database.
The higher your turnaround, the more cars you can park. The more you can pack, the higher your profits will climb. Drivers will always flock to lots that process them quickly. Convenience is one of the most powerful ways to build your loyal customer base, and ANPR is just the technology to offer it.