Data911 announces new HD license-plate reader technology
Data911 recently announced the availability of its second-generation license-plate reader (LPR) technology that leverages high-definition (HD) cameras to process the license-plate numbers of more vehicles quickly at unprecedented distances and camera angles, company officials said.
Previously, LPR solutions—including Data911’s first-generation LPR—have utilized analog cameras that provide image resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and effectively support optical character recognition (OCR) only if the license plate is view in the center of the camera frame within a limited range, according to Michael Baumann, Data911’s digital video product manager. With 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720-pixel HD cameras, the effective range and camera angles for the LPR system are increased greatly, he said.
“Before, you had to have [the license plate] in the middle [of the camera viewing area], and you had to have it in a general size range to be able to detect that,” Baumann said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Now, it can be much farther away, come across your screen much faster and not even enter the center of your screen, but with the HD video, the quality is increased by a factor of at least five times greater, in terms of the definition of reads.”
Images from the HD cameras are processed through the Data911 LPR engine that operates on the company’s M7 in-car computer, which also can be used to support body-camera video. If a license-plate number matches the number on a “hot” list included in the license-plate database of vehicles associated with incidents, the LPR system notifies the officer.
In fact, the officer does not need to be in the vehicle at the time that a match is found, Baumann said. With the Data911 solution, pre-recorded video is stored automatically when a match is found, and the officer is notified of the situation upon returning to his/her vehicle.
Data911 CEO Abigail Baker said that all of these LPR and video capabilities are available at an affordable price, whether they are purchased at the same time or as separate modular components.
“What’s important for an agency, particularly with the tight budgets these days, is that they’re trying to get every possible technology for their dollars,” Baker said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “There are standalone LPR systems out there that run $18,000 to $25,000 per vehicle, and what you get for that is a nice package, with four cameras and another computer to run in the car for the license-plate recognition system.
“Because we’ve always been modular in our design of in-car, mobile technology solutions, what we’ve designed is the ability for an agency to take their LPR budget dollars and also get a computer, a digital video system and an LPR system for about the same dollar price—maybe lower, depending on the type of cameras. So, you suddenly are getting so much more value for your dollar, in terms of being able to purchase not just an LPR system but an integrated solution that includes a computer and a digital video system that runs different types of cameras.”
Baumann echoed this sentiment.
“The important thing is that you can have our computer and have our video system, and—later on, when budgets come around—the LPR is easily added by simply adding an Ethernet cable and hanging the LPR cameras onto the system,” he said. “You don’t have to come out with another whole computer or another whole video system that drives the cameras. You can plug and play cameras into our system.”
One integration capability that is expected to be commercially available by the end of the year is the ability to scan body-camera video for license plates automatically, Baumann said. In addition, the Data911 solution will support other video—for instance, video taken from a fixed camera, whether it is owned by a government or enterprise—being run through the LPR engine to check for license-plate numbers.