Vista Number Plate Recognition

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Key Features

  • Fully integrated camera head overcoming highlight issues such as car headlights.
  • 24/7 day and night operation
  • Long bulb life
  • Image capture at up to 50m distances
  • Number plate recognition at speeds in excess of 100mph
  • Simultaneous operation of up to 4 separate lanes
  • Multi-lingual number plate recognition
  • Fully automated operator prompts in response to known / suspect vehicles
  • Control of barrier gates
  • Calculation of car parking charges
  • Activation of LED display signs (corporate welcome)
  • TCP/IP networkable
  • IFSEC Security Industry Awards Winner 2002

The automated optical recognition and subsequent recording of vehicle registration plates has been something long since strived for by CCTV manufacturers. However, it has only been until very recently that hi­tech camera technology has been fused with advances in computer processing power and the development of "Smart" algorithmic software to finally deliver such an important solution.

VNPR (Vista Number Plate Recognition) is a proven, reliable, automated number plate recognition and capture system, comprising of two main components - the camera head, and the software engine.

Vista's VNPR camera head has been developed specifically for its demanding role, carefully integrating camera, optics and infrared illumination. The result is an extremely reliable hardware unit, fully operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Although new to the market Vista's VNPR software engine has been in development over many years, in fact by leading British Technical Universities and graphic software houses. Fine-tuned to deliver to Vista's exacting product standards, the VNPR software engine is loaded onto a purpose built ruggedised PC.

First of all an image is acquired via the VNPRC camera head. With its carefully matched and integrated components many issues that have historically hampered cameras previously developed for this function are easily overcome. These issues have traditionally related to vehicle speed, reflectivity of number plates, accurate focus in both day and night time operation, and most importantly - operation at night time with on coming vehicle headlights.

Once acquired, this image is then fed to the VNPR controller running the VistaBase software engine. Once received VistaBase starts interrogating the image, looking for a rectangular area. When this has been identified a copy of the original image is taken, with the software automatically scanning this rectangle area for characters.

Unlike other number plate recognition software, VistaBase does not just stop at one image of the number plate. Having the ability to process over 70 images per second VistaBase uses an advanced filter system to provide a user definable "hot zone" within the camera's field of view. Such an approach minimises number plate size and time spent on processing images from the target vehicle. The result is multiple image capture of the approaching vehicle's registration plate for further crosschecking and crystal clear identification.

Once identified this number is then passed to the database application of VistaBase, which in turn decides on the appropriate action to take. All information is saved to the unit's PC hard disk for later retrieval or interrogation. At this point the software can also switch to another camera and capture an additional image, providing for example an overview of the whole scene, or even the driver's face.

Once the number plate has been captured the system can provide many automated activations or generated reports. These can include for the end user:

  • Automatic entry for authorised vehicles to secure areas
  • Car park charges
  • Operator notification of known suspect vehicles
  • Vehicle speed logging
  • Average length of vehicle stay
  • Generate welcome messages to arriving visitors
  • Logging of all vehicles entering covered areas

Although Vista's VNPR recognition software will operate with a standard video composite video input, the VNPRC camera head has been specifically designed to overcome some optical issues resulting from the demanding environments the application is used within.

To elaborate, most registration plates are retro reflective, meaning they will reflect back a very high proportion of the light. Unfortunately, traditional direct halogen light cannot be used to overcome this problem, as the vehicle driver would be dazzled with obvious consequences.

Additionally, car headlights also play a negative role since they cause the lens to close down to accommodate the highlights of the headlights. This would result in the number plate details being obscured. To overcome these issues, the Vista VNPRC camera heads have been manufactured with an integrated system, specifically designed for number plate capture. Careful matching of camera and lens, combined with electronic shuttering techniques and advanced infrared lighting technology, has provided a solution that will provide reliable image capture, time after time after time.

See also Vista section.