A Guide to ALPR Recognition Systems

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Automated technology has been one of the fastest-growing market segments over the past decade. Automated license plate reader (ALPR) recognition systems specifically have seen ample growth with no signs of slowing down. In 2020, the ALPR market size reached $573.7 million, with growth projections as high as $641.7 million by 2026. That’s a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.9%.

With more and more businesses and government entities incorporating ALPR recognition systems into their daily operations, it’s important to understand what an ALPR system is, how it works, and whether it’s right for your organization. Here’s a quick guide to ALPR recognition systems.

What Is an ALPR Recognition System?

ALPR stands for automated license plate reader. It’s a computer-controlled, high-speed camera that snaps a picture of license plates as cars drive by. They can take a picture and read license plates at a much quicker rate compared to human operators, even at faster-than-highway speeds.

Most ALPR recognition systems are also connected to the internet to search scanned license plates through online databases. Not only can they take a picture of a passing plate, but they can also find the owner of the car. Think of them like an automatic security guard that can track who comes in and out of an area.

If the ALPR system identifies a plate that’s registered to a known criminal, person of interest, or simply not authorized to be in the area, it’ll send an alert to notify the proper authorities. Property owners can also use them as a record-keeping system. You can see a log of who’s on property and exactly when they enter and exit for tighter security.

How Does It Work

An automated license plate reader recognition system is made up of several high-speed cameras that activate once a vehicle passes. They take a high-quality pictures of the license plates and the vehicle to capture make, model, color, and type, even if the car is moving at a high rate of speed. Some ALPR cameras can capture a clear license plate image at speeds upwards of 120 miles per hour!

Once the image is captured, connected ALPR systems can run the license plate numbers through a central online database. If the plate number matches one that’s on a whitelist or hotlist, it sends an alert to the property authorities with the license number, vehicle description, and an outline of the reason for the alert.

These whitelists or hotlists can be from an on-site server that you control—for example, a list of approved tenants and visitors for an apartment complex—or they can be pulled from online police and state databases.

Other ALPR systems that aren’t connected to online databases will store all the information on a centralized cloud platform that only authorized personnel can access. That way, you and your staff will be able to go back and look through the information to see who enters and exits your property throughout the day and the exact times. It acts as an automated entry log.

In some applications, ALPR systems can even automatically control gates. If the detected license plate is authorized for entry, the gate will automatically open upon scanning. If a vehicle isn’t authorized, the gate won’t open and an alert will be sent to the property’s managers.

Types of ALPR Cameras

There are two basic types of ALPR cameras: stationary and mobile. They each have different capabilities and purposes.

Stationary ALPR Cameras

Stationary ALPR cameras are mounted in a permanent location, like on a kiosk or traffic light. These types of automated license plate readers will typically scan any license plate that passes underneath of them, even if they’re traveling at highway speeds.

These ALPR cameras can also be used to determine the speed and direction of passing vehicles. Since they’re stationary, they can easily determine how fast a passing vehicle is moving and which way they’re going, making them ideal for on-the-road applications.

It is possible to move stationary ALPR cameras, typically on a surveillance truck or trailer. However, they must be stationary to be deployed. Generally, the truck or trailer will pack up the camera, move to a location, and redeploy—usually with the camera mounted on top of a telescoping pole.

Mobile ALPR Cameras

Mobile ALPR cameras are designed to be either handheld—typically for use in parking applications—or vehicle-mounted, like on police patrol cars. This allows the user to scan multiple license plates quickly on the go.

The main downside to mobile automated license plate reader camera systems is that they require a mobile data connection in order to connect to a database. Without an internet connection, they won’t be able to scan the license plates against whitelists or hotlists.

Since they’re typically used in motion, mobile ALPR cameras also typically can’t determine speed or direction of scanned vehicles.

ALPR Recognition System Applications

Automated license plate reader camera systems are ideal in many applications across industries. They can help maintain a level of security at private properties or help law enforcement track down offenders.

Here are just a few of the most common ALPR applications:

  • Gated Communities
  • Logistics and distribution centers
  • Office Building
  • Educational Campuses
  • Access control
  • Treat detection
  • Parking management
  • Toll collection
  • Traffic control
  • Traffic enforcement

No matter what you use an ALPR system for, it can help you ensure greater peace of mind for both you and anyone who visits or lives on your property. By knowing who is on your property at all times, you can more easily keep your property secure and limit unauthorized access. In addition many systems will also allow you to run detailed reports such as

  • Capture Make, Model, Color, and Type
  • Gathers plate and vehicle image
  • Transactions
  • Vehicles Onsite
  • Vehicle Activity
  • Muster Report
  • Time On-Site
  • Unregistered Vehicle Report
  • Cut Through Report
  • Roving Vehicle Report
  • Overstay Report

Protect Your Property with an ALPR Recognition System

An automated license plate reader system is like a sentry that stands guard over your property 24/7. It constantly scans license plates and compares them against a central database to ensure authorized visitors can get in, while unauthorized visitors stay out.

If you want to better protect the residents in your neighborhood, consider installing ALPR-equipped cameras or upgrading your current IP cameras to work with ALPR software. At Proptia, we offer cutting-edge security software designed to give HOAs and neighborhood residents more peace of mind that they’re safe and secure. Our ALPR solutions capture images quickly, and armed with advanced AI software can compare plates against your centralized database with over 98% accuracy.

Ready to keep a better watch over your neighborhood? Contact us to learn more about Proptia’s HOA security systems and what they can do for your community.