The technology of license plate recognition is nothing new.
It has been widely applied in various fields, including surveillance cameras.
However, what are license plate recognition cameras and how to choose the right one are still questionable to many customers.
The following article will update you on quick basic facts about them.
What is license plate recognition?
LPR, or license plate recognition, is a feature found in some software to facilitate the detection, reading, and storage of car license plates.
In traffic monitoring, such cameras are installed in gated security entrances and parking lots to capture license plate numbers.
These images are then liable to storage for later review or analysis via specialized software.
This software serves to compare the footage with a database of stored license plate numbers.
If it detects a match, you can activate your system on the alert mode.
You can also set up to send alerts to your mobile phone or email. Therefore, you will immediately know if something abnormal happens.
The license plate recognition is helpful in case you want to:
- Supervise the traffic volume at parking lots or gated entrances
- Eliminate threats of intrusion in important areas such as research facility and military base
- Find out the whereabouts of a suspect through his or her vehicle
- Detect a stolen car as criminal evidence
- Control the enforcement of parking laws, such as reserved spaces and time limits
Characteristics of license plate recognition cameras
License plate recognition cameras are available in a variety of models that are selling at over $1000 on the market.
Most cameras feature optional or diffusable infrared lights to illuminate the place just enough to see its reflection.
Experiments have testified their capability of spotting license plates of vehicles at certain speeds during the day and at night. They are also compatible with some software that includes reporting function.
Either one or multiple highway lanes, a true LPR camera easily captures the plate number of high-speeding vehicles.
For ordinary consumers and small to medium-sized enterprises, a camera worth several hundred dollars at most is enough only to read the license plate number of vehicles entering and exiting driveways, streets or choke points.
They are not willing to spend more on such facility. Therefore, you can consider buying one in that price range.
How to choose the right license plate camera
The first factor to consider when choosing a license plate camera is definitely high definition.
HP IP security cameras are useful in capturing crystal clear pictures of license plate numbers.
Go for resolutions of 2MP (1080p), 4MP (1440p), or 5MP. Cameras incorporated with 5MP resolution are an advancement of the security camera industry.
For example, in the ideal environment, 1080p security cameras are able to spot license plates within the diameter of 13ft.
However, outside factors such as long distance and moving-fast vehicles can affect the vision. That means the image taken from 13ft away is not clear enough to make out details.
To enhance the quality of images, 4MP and 5MP license plate security cameras are feasible options.
Long range night vision
In security cameras, great speed means faster exposure.
If one vehicle is moving at 35 mph, the exposure tends to go down from 1/30 to 1/500. At this point, the camera becomes almost black at sunset.
At the same time, less light will enter the camera’s lens, raising the need for more infrared light.
Therefore, to ensure 24/7 surveillance, go for a camera with the built-in night or infrared mode.
In the dark condition, IP cameras equipped with long-range night vision help you spot license plate numbers clearly.
Although the majority of package thefts and home break-ins occur in the daylight, you shouldn’t be subjective. You need to keep your property safe all day and night long.
Infrared license late security cameras are fierce rivalries for the darkness.
Contrary to common thinking, infrared and “night vision” security cameras aren’t the same.
The former can show excellent performance under the total darkness. This is what traditional night vision security cameras lack in.
Some models have an outstanding long light vision up to 190ft.
If possible, get one with head-light compensation, or wide dynamic range.
Head-light compensation or masking aims at blocking bright headlights to facilitate license plate reading while wide dynamic range is helpful in equalizing exposure of reflective surfaces.
When choosing a security camera, don’t forget to go for the optical zoom feature. You can freely zoom in to get a clear view of details while maintaining the high quality of images.
After getting the footage of thieves’ license plate from the camera storage, for example, you can download the footage to zoom in the license number. This proves particularly useful in crime investigation.
In case you want to install license plate recognition cameras outside your property, it’s advisable that you choose a waterproof design.
At the entrance of the driveway, with a normal security camera, it only works in the humid condition. Otherwise, once it rains, the camera turns out useless. No license plate numbers are captured then.
To ensure you won’t miss any numbers, try installing a POE/wireless IP camera system specialized in plate reading or face detection. The system is designed to work around the clock so you can keep everything under control.
Make sure that the camera can stand the test of water jets and dust.
Before deciding which camera to buy, remember to check your recorder or the LPR software.
Video footage is available in a wide range of formats from Analog SD, HD, EX-SDI to IP.
In the HD option, there are three main sub-groups, notably TVI, CVI, and AHD, indicating different resolution levels.
For example, HD-TVI 3.0 goes with HD-TVI cameras up to 3MP while the HD-TVI 4.0 version can identify HD-TVI cameras up to 5MP.
Have you made up the final decision?
License plate recognition cameras are a really wonderful invention of human intelligence.
Their usefulness has been proved in numerous application, especially criminal investigation.
So, how about you? It’s time to test whether this reputation is right or wrong yourself.
Share with us your own experience.