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Flexible system for license plate recognition

Alvium 1800 C Cameras in WAHTARI’S nCAM for ANPR

The large number of different automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) applications, such as parking systems and toll control, requires that the system can be adapted in a short time and at low cost. Wahtari has developed the neural camera that is based on a flexible modular principle and equipped with Allied Vision's Alvium 1800 C cameras.

The challenge

Varying requirements

Wahtari has developed solutions for a wide variety of tasks. Depending on the application’s scope and the requirements, end users can create a product tailored to their needs based on Wahtari’s open architecture.
For use in license plate recognition, the system must meet the highest requirements in terms of precision and speed. With a large number of different applications, such as parking systems and toll control, it is essential that the system can be developed in a short time and at low cost.

The solution

Open system architecture

The neural camera nCam developed by Wahtari is based on a flexible modular principle. It consists of the basic elements of an image sensor in the form of an Alvium CSI-2 camera, a carrier board, a lens, an image processing controller, a network interface, an AI accelerator, and an x68_46 Intel processor.

Up to three Intel Movidius Myriad X VPUs neural processing units are dedicated exclusively to accelerate sophisticated deep learning inferencing. With its high-performance industrial image sensors ranging from 0.5 to 20.4 megapixel resolution, Alvium cameras fit perfectly into the system’s overall concept.

As an open platform, nCam is used in many areas of Intelligent Traffic Solutions (ITS), like license plate recognition (APNR: Automatic Number Plate Recognition). Typical APNR applications are vehicle access control, e.g. via black & white lists, automatic billing of toll and parking tickets, as well as free-flow applications in multi-level parking garages or other constellations where RFID transponders are unsuitable.

The benefits

Flexibility through modularity

Wahtari’s modular camera design is developed exactly for versatile requirements. The large sensor selection of the Alvium series opens up a wide range of applications for the nCam. Frame rates of up to 289 fps or a resolution of up to 20.2 MP are possible, while LEDs with white or IR light ensure a visibility range of up to 50 m even at night. Depending on the task, such as license plate recognition, the system can now be tailored exactly to individual requirements.

The overall system is no larger than 355.00 mm x 130.00 mm x 210.00 mm. Packaged in an IP67 aluminum housing with a sophisticated passive cooling system, the camera reliably delivers results in a matter of milliseconds even under the harshest conditions (-40° C to 55° C /-40° F to 131° F). Optionally, it can be equipped with a sunshield.

The ANPR system demonstrates its particularly high efficiency gains in scenarios where a large number of unknown vehicles need to be identified quickly and without errors. The number of incorrectly recognizedlicense plates drops to almost zero thanks to deep
learning. The collected data provides an ideal basis for drawing conclusions about the utilization of road or parking spaces, analyzing drivers’ usage behavior, and defining appropriate optimization measures.

The wide choice of sensors made our decision to implement Allied Vision's Alvium cameras very easy.

The camera: Alvium 1800 C

Flexible by design

The Alvium camera series offers a large choice of sensors from 0.5 to 20.4 megapixel resolution. The native integration supports all current and future Alvium cameras with MIPI CSI-2 interface. With minimal development effort, different sensors can be tested, various resolution
variants of a system can be developed, and existing systems can be upgraded to the latest sensors.
This not only saves time, but also significantly reduces development costs. To further facilitate integration into a system, a choice can be made between different housing variants (PCB and open housing) as well as lens mounts (C-mount, CS-mount or S-mount).

Highlights at a glance

  • Flexible modular design enables solutions for a wide range of requirements

  • Large choice of image sensors in terms of resolution and frame rate

  • SWaP advantages of the Alvium camera supporting the compact design

  • Collected data help to optimize traffic flow