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TECHNOLOGY Machine vision


INEX/ZAMIR specialise in visual technology for ALPR/ ANPR systems: “It’s the same as machine vision in that it’s reading something going by at relative speed”


“Machine vision is about a camera with sufficient quality to read a situation, the right illumination for the view. But then what do you do with the images captured?”


“You have so many possible combinations that it becomes


more complicated to match two or three or more systems to the other. It requires a different kind of knowledge. People that are dealing with those cameras need to know more now about networking, about video compression, that kind of knowledge, where they used to know more about analogue technology and connecting wires.”


LED, QED Meanwhile Gardasoft have made advances in their business by taking advantage of another advancement in technology, this time with LEDs. “Gardasoft started out primarily as a supplier of LED


controllers that allowed LEDs to be driven precisely for illuminating a scene in a vision inspection camera capture” says John Merva, the company’s North American Sales and Marketing Manager. “LEDs, as most people realise, have advanced rather rapidly over the last 10 years or so, in par- ticular the last few years and that’s because LEDs started out as indicators but we quickly realised their potential for illu- mination and with a drive for green energy their low power rates and long life LEDs are very desirable illumination source. In particular their stability and long life makes them very nice for imaging situations which include machine vision and of course traffic or other image acquisition and interpretation needs.” So machine vision is about a camera with sufficient qual-


ity to read a situation, the right illumination for the view. But then what do you do with the images captured?


8 Vermeulen explains how his business focuses on video


processing, for example analysing camera images to detect dangerous events as they happen, without a human being having to keep watching a screen. “That could be unexpected events such as cars that stop on


a location that you do not expect them to stop, pedestrians that walk into tunnels, even smoke detection in tunnels, cars that drive in the wrong direction and so on and so forth.” Another obvious use of machine vision technology is in


automatic number (or licence) plate recognition. That’s Jim Kennedy’s business: “ALPR/ANPR is the same as machine vision in that it’s


reading something going by at relative speed: reading some- thing, checking something’s size and shape and coming away with some data.” That all sounds relatively simple, but as Kennedy explains,


it starts to get complicated when you start trying to interpret the images: “There are differences, to some people they’re subtle differ-


ences, but most European manufacturers understand the dif- ficulty of the US market which is why I don’t have that much competition here because US licence plates are very difficult. They have all these graphic backgrounds and each state has a variety of plates, Florida for example has 180 different types of licence plates and they’re not the worst so the challenge is, or the difference is, that the US plate is just not standard and in many parts of the country even if they don’t think their plates are standard they look standard to me. If they have three types of plates, you know that’s beautiful, that’s easy”.


thinkinghighways.com Vol 8 No 2 Europe/Rest of the World


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