As a company that prides itself on flexibility, we offer various parking solutions that depend on the needs of the client and the infrastructure already available at their parking facility. One of the tools we offer as part of parking digitalisation is ANPR cameras. We strive to provide our clients and customers with the most innovative and quality parking solutions, and we look for technological tools that enable us to deliver this. We see ANPR cameras as such a tool, and that is why we decided to begin installing them at some of our digital parking lots a few years back. In this article, we look at what ANPR cameras are, how they work and help achieve the ultimate digitalisation of a parking lot, and what benefits they provide our clients with. .
- Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are smart cameras that read the license plates of vehicles.
- There are two types of ANPR cameras. One read the license plates themselves. The others take a picture of the license plate and send it to other devices that read it.
- ANPR cameras can be found in parking lots, highways, intersections and sides of roads, and smart cities where they help with things like improving security and providing traffic analysis.
- The ANPR cameras we use to digitalise our parking lots are about 30 cm in width and 30 cm in height.
- ANPR cameras automate the process of entering and exiting the parking facility for the customers of the parking lot, requiring no action from them. It is the most seamless, simple and safe solution to parking and significantly improves the customer experience.
What are ANPR cameras?
The short definition of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras is that they are smart cameras that read the license plates of vehicles.
There are two types of ANPR cameras. One type is cameras that read the license plate number by themselves and send it to the backend system with which they are configured. The second type of ANPR camera is those cameras that cannot read the license plate number but instead take a picture of the license plate and send it to other devices to which it is connected. These other devices then read the license plate. The first model is more flexible and cost- and operational-efficient.
Vehicle and license plate detection and recognition from cameras can be triggered in many different ways, such as:
- an electric system from an induction loop after the vehicle has moved into a designated area,
- a message from a connected backend system that a license plate needs to be read,
- dedicated interfaces,
- a laser that detects the vehicle in front of the camera, and
- motion detection.
Other than at our digital parking lots, some other places you can find ANPR cameras include highways, intersections and sides of roads where they assist in civil enforcement and detection of red light violations, speeding and other offences, and smart cities where they help with things like improving security and providing traffic analysis.
Due to their different uses, ANPR cameras also differ in appearance based on what purpose they serve. The ANPR cameras we use to digitalise our parking lots are about 30 cm in width and 30 cm in height. They have two lenses in the front and three outlets in the back.
How do ANPR cameras digitise a parking lot?
Since we offer flexible parking digitalisation that depend on the client’s specific needs and what kind of infrastructure is already present at the parking facility, not all of our digital parking lots have the same technology. Therefore, not all of them have ANPR cameras installed. Nevertheless, at NaviParking we offer our customers extension packages that can extend parking capabilities with ANPR cameras. Those where we have them installed help us automatise the parking entry and exit, so it is fully seamless and touchless. How does that work?
After agreeing with a client that digitalisation on the basis of ANPR cameras is the best fit for their parking facility, we order the ANPR cameras from our supplier and then install them at the parking lot. The number of ANPR cameras installed depends on the number of entrances and exits at the parking lot. There is one camera installed for each entrance and exit. In the case of one spot serving as both an entrance and exit, there will be two ANPR cameras installed, each facing a different direction.
Because they are quite compact and only measure about 30 cm by 30 cm, the installation of the ANPR cameras usually takes one day, with an occasional extension of two days. Once that is finished, the configuration with our backend system begins.
Some of the digital parking lots managed by NaviParking and equipped with ANPR cameras include Mercure Warsaw Grand, Novotel Warsaw Centre, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, Novotel Katowice Centre, GTC Francuska Office Centre and Supersam Shopping Centre.
What are the benefits of installing ANPR Cameras?
The reason we offer the installation of ANPR cameras to our clients is that they offer the most convenience to both them and their customers.
Since ANPR cameras automate the process of entering and exiting the parking facility for the customers of the parking lot, it is the most seamless, simple and safe solution to parking and significantly improves the customer experience. Once the ANPR cameras are installed and paired with one of our parking applications, any driver can download the application and create an account, entering in their data including the licence plate number of their vehicle. After this is completed, no additional action is required from the customer. They arrive at the parking lot, drive up to the parking barrier, which will open automatically thanks to the ANPR cameras, and the customer enters the parking lot. The same thing happens when leaving the parking lot: the customer drives up to the exit, and the ANPR cameras recognise the license plate number, which triggers the parking barrier to open.
The automatisation of the parking entry and exit eliminates the long lines that sometimes occur when for example, the ticket machines next to the parking barrier break down or someone drives up to the barrier realising they lost their parking ticket. It also ensures the safety of a touchless solution that is sought after by customers all over the world. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, customers are a lot more cautious when accessing public spaces and touching external surfaces touched by the public, such as ticket machines at parking lots, and prefer touchless solutions that limit their exposure to staff and external surfaces.
Installed ANPR cameras provide benefits to the parking owner as well. Thanks to the automatisation these cameras provide, the amount of parking staff that needs to be present is reduced. Therefore the parking owner will save money. No staff will need to manually open the parking barriers or interfere and help a customer when there is an issue with the ticket machine, because there won’t be a need for paper tickets.
Just like the reduction of the parking staff, the elimination of paper tickets saves the parking owner money. It also improves the sustainability of the parking facility, making the processes occurring there better for the planet and the parking lot more attractive to customers.
In the panel paired with the installed ANPR cameras, the administrator can generate whitelists and blacklists for their parking facility and even set zones that are not visible for the camera, such as the sidewalk or street and have it focus on a designated area in front of the parking barrier. Camera diagnostics are also visible in the panel.