SCHAUMBURG, Ill., 1 Dec. 2005 ? Car thieves, fugitives and Amber Alert suspects are just some of the targets of innovative license plate reader technology that Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and PIPS Technology are releasing to public safety organizations nationwide.
The Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology installed in police cars ?reads? vehicle plates as they enter the view of a vehicle-mounted or roadside infrared camera, and checks them against a database for nearly instantaneous identification. The system runs continuously, automatically capturing images of license plates with a camera that works in nearly every lighting condition.
?This technology is completely automated and built into the car's operation, so it requires no action on the part of the police officer to capture the plate numbers and have them verified. It is not something the officer has to initiate,?? said Steve Most, Multimedia Business Director, Motorola radio systems division. Previous technologies required officers to manually type in a plate number and request a database search for each number, which can be time consuming and prone to errors.
?The ALPR system gives public safety officers quick access to information about the vehicles around them. This helps increase their security and safety as well as that of the general driving population. It also makes the police officer more effective,?? Most added.
Before bringing the ALPR system into Motorola's product portfolio, Motorola worked with PIPS to further ruggedize its license plate technology to meet Motorola specifications for Mission Critical public safety communications in the United States. PIPS, which was founded in the United Kingdom and has its U.S. headquarters in Tennessee, has thousands of cameras in place worldwide.
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The Pennsylvania State Police recently tested the ALPR system, which was pivotal in an October arrest on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
During the first week of the test, a car was observed speeding on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Chester County. While the trooper was pulling up behind the vehicle, its license plate was automatically ?read?? by the camera mounted on the cruiser and processed through a database installed in the trooper's onboard computer. The ALPR system showed the vehicle as stolen, which alerted the trooper to call for backup before he even approached its occupants.
The trooper then conducted a further check on the state database, which showed that the three occupants of the vehicle in question were wanted in connection with an earlier kidnapping and attempted murder case.
In addition to the public safety applications for ALPR, parking garage operators can use the system to control access to their properties and help prevent fraud. Each customer designs its own database to ensure the plates are checked for the type of violators being sought. In addition to improving security for any type of user, the ALPR system also can help generate revenue by identifying plates with outstanding traffic tickets and overdue parking lot fees.
?We are pleased that Motorola has selected our company to work with them in bringing ALPR to a wider customer base,?? said Craig Cantrell, chief operating officer of PIPS Technology Inc., in Knoxville, Tenn. ?This strategic relationship further cements our position as a market leader in license plate recognition system design and manufacture.??