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TECHNOLOGY Machine vision


“ANPR is the same as machine vision in that it’s reading something going by at relative speed: reading something, checking something’s size and shape and coming away with some data”


Gardasoft VTR Series LED strobes offer a multitude of wavelength choice and are being used in many applications such as toll plazas, speed monitoring, multi-lane control and red light violation


For Gardasoft, too, different requirements in different


places cause a headache: “Asia in particular is more likely to be interested in less


sophisticated and lower-priced products, North America is probably more interested in more sophistication, a higher price but very easy to deploy,” says John Merva. “Then I see the European market and it’s largely focussed around Germany because they’re the leaders in this area, they are more interested in a lot of very rich feature sets that they can employ to do different things.”


STANDARD ISSUE Talking of Europe, the biggest challenge facing Belgium’s FLIR ITS is the different standards required, as Vermeulen explains: “The lack or the running behind of standardisation, or the


fact that there are too many standards is the biggest chal- lenge. If we were coming from the analogue world life would be simple. You would have a PAL camera or an NTSC cam- era, you would take in the video, you would know exactly how it looks, you know exactly what to expect,” he says. “If you’re in an IP world, that becomes a little bit more compli- cated, you have different kinds of compression techniques, you have different bit rates, different qualities, it becomes a bit more difficult to adapt to the cameras, the broad range, several manufacturers have their own way of working, in adding things into the video stream, so the whole aspect of adapting to the camera on the other side becomes a little bit more complicated and difficult to handle so if I were to be


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awake at night, it’s mainly about the diversity and standards.” There are currently things that machine vision cameras


just aren’t quite perfect at. INEX/ZAMIR’s Jim Kennedy admits that, when it comes to ANPR/ALPR there are some things that an electronic in-vehicle tag can do better because it can carry much more information about a vehicle such as its type. “The in-vehicle tag can give you vehicle class and can give


you a whole bunch of things that are difficult, but not impos- sible, to get with a license plate. As an example in some States a certain series of numbers means it’s a certain weight truck, but you have to get that series of numbers correct. Then you have the issue of custom plates where all those rules go out the window.” But, he says, he’s working on changing this. “We’re looking


now at other means of putting things on the licence plate that may or may not be visible to the average passer-by but would mean something to the reader itself and that could be some kind of a code, something that’s only visible in IR. Work has been going on in the background for a couple of years to get this kind of thing done.” And then I asked him about the challenge of dealing with


cloned plates, where people copy the registration number of another, similar, vehicle and then put it on their car. That’s something Jim Kennedy is doing his best to handle: “They put a security thread, some sort of device in there


that’s visible at certain angles so it’s easy for the police to tell if it’s cloned, whereas it may not be so easy for an ALPR system to pick up that piece of information. There are ways to make


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


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