With the constantly growing number of vehicles on the road, there is no going back to less noisy streets, sufficient parking spaces, or cities without parking violations. As people keep purchasing cars, traffic congestion also increases because there is not enough space to accommodate them. But with evolving technology, it gets easier to maintain efficient traffic management. One of the most widely accepted parking management and enforcement technologies worldwide is Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.
ANPR technology has become increasingly popular in car parks all over the world because of the ample number of benefits it possesses. Car park owners use ANPR systems to capture the licence plate numbers of vehicles entering and exiting their space. It enables the car park operator to manage traffic flow and identify vehicles that have overstayed their allotted parking time. It also helps prevent unregistered or blocklisted automobiles from entering the parking space and enhances the overall security of the property.
In this blog, we will explore how ANPR technology works in a car park.
ANPR Technology Overview
ANPR technology is a combination of hardware and software systems working together to capture and interpret images of licence plates. ANPR technology is highly efficient because of its capability to incorporate different applications and techniques. ANPR systems typically comprise a camera, a processor, and a database. The camera captures an image of the licence plate and sends it to the processor, which uses optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert the image into alphanumeric characters. These characters are then compared against the database to determine if the vehicle is authorised to park in the car park.
ANPR cameras can be easily installed at the entrance and exit of a car park. They are designed to capture high-quality images of the licence plates, regardless of the time or weather conditions. The cameras are connected to a processing unit responsible for capturing and analysing the images. The processing unit is equipped with advanced algorithms to identify the characters on the licence plate, even if they are partially obscured or distorted. Also, ANPR cameras can simultaneously capture images of multiple vehicles’ number plates and process them individually.
How ANPR Technology Works
ANPR technology captures an image of the licence plate as the vehicle enters or exits the car park. The camera takes a picture of the licence plate, and the OCR software then processes the image. The OCR software analyses the image and identifies the alphanumeric characters on the licence plate.
Once the software identifies the characters, they are compared against a database of authorised or registered vehicles. If the licence plate number matches a registered vehicle, the gate will open, allowing the vehicle to enter or exit the car park. If the licence plate number does not match an authorised vehicle from the database, the gate will remain closed, and the driver will need to seek assistance from the car park operator.
The car park operator generally maintains the database of authorised vehicles, which contains a list of licence plate numbers permitted to park in the car park. This list can be updated as per the need, enabling the car park owner to add or remove the licence plate number from the database.
Nowadays, modern parking payment terminals also come with an ANPR integration feature that helps maintain the transaction record. It is beneficial for keeping track of successful and unpaid payments. As the data is stored in the machine, the owner can get a report of all the transactions whenever they want and track the due parking receipts.
Benefits of ANPR Technology in Car Parks
ANPR technology offers numerous benefits to car park operators and users, such as accuracy, cost-efficiency, safety & security, automaticity, convenience, versatility, etc. Some of these benefits are briefly explained below:
- Enhanced Security
ANPR technology can help improve the car park’s security by identifying unauthorised vehicles and preventing them from entering the car park. As the data obtained by the ANPR cameras is stored in a database, the operator can look through it in times of violation and identify the unauthorised driver.
- Improved Traffic Flow
ANPR technology can help improve traffic flow by automatically opening gates for registered and allowed vehicles, reducing the time drivers spend waiting in line to enter or exit the car park. Along with reducing the traffic congestion in the car park, it also improves the user experience with hassle-free parking.
- Reduced Labour Costs
ANPR technology can help reduce labour costs by automating the process of monitoring vehicle entry and exit. This can enable car park operators to reduce staffing levels and improve efficiency. Also, it functions faster and error-free compared to humans, which makes it cost-efficient.
- Improved Revenue Collection
ANPR technology can help improve revenue collection by accurately tracking vehicles’ time in the car park. This can enable car park operators to charge users based on the time they spend in the car park rather than charging a flat rate. Also, with accurate parking violation information, the owner can charge the violator with a fine and earn extra money.
Challenges of ANPR Technology in Car Parks
Despite several benefits of ANPR technology, there are some challenges as well, which include:
ANPR technology can be expensive to implement, requiring significant investment in hardware and software systems. But it is a one-time investment with plenty of long-term benefits.
ANPR technology requires timely maintenance and updates to ensure it continues functioning effectively, which can add additional costs to the car park operator. Still, with regular advancement and updates, it provides even better results.
- Privacy Concerns
ANPR technology captures and stores images of licence plates, raising concerns about privacy and data protection. But it is highly confidential, and only the operator with login control can access the data. Additionally, the government has strict laws against the disclosure of personal information.
Car parks are essential places we visit daily, and their maintenance and security are pivotal for us. We rely on car parks for our expensive liability; therefore, they need to be safe, functional, and efficient. That’s why ANPR technology is the best choice for every parking space. With this piece hope you have gotten an understanding of ANPR, its functioning, benefits and challenges that can be easily overcome.
If you still need a better understanding of ANPR or want to get your hands on this fantastic technology, feel free to reach out to Euro Parking Services. We are the best parking management and enforcement companies in the UK. We provide ANPR-based solutions and other efficient parking management services across the UK, including Birmingham, London, Amsterdam, etc.
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