According to the latest research by IHS Markit, the global market revenues from sales of intelligent ANPR devices are forecast to reach USD 800 million by 2022 and increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.4%.
On a larger scale, the ANPR System Market — including Fixed, Mobile, Portable, Component (ANPR Cameras, Software, Frame Grabbers, Triggers), Application (Traffic Management, Law Enforcement, Electronic Toll Collection, Parking Management) — is also on a path of balanced growth for as long as 2023, according to a recent study by MarketsandMarkets.
“The ANPR system market in 2016 was valued at USD 1.78 billion and is expected to reach USD 3.57 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 9.74% between 2019 and 2023,” according to the 149-page report.
“The traffic management application accounted for the largest market share in 2016. The increasing demand for ANPR systems in urban areas due to high traffic congestion is driving the growth of the ANPR system market for traffic management applications. The market for the electronic toll collection application is expected to grow at the highest rate between 2019 and 2023,” the report added.
The increasing adoption of vehicles and stringent government regulations by various countries for implementing electronic toll collection systems is driving the growth of the ANPR system market.
The report underlined that Europe held the largest share of the ANPR system market in 2016, and was expected to grow at a moderate CAGR between 2019 and 2023. The market in APAC is estimated to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period. The demand for ANPR systems in APAC is expected to be driven by increasing public infrastructure and highways.
Restraint for growth in the market
Inconsistency in number plate designs is the restraint for the ANPR market. Number plates differ in size and fonts across the globe; due to which, it becomes difficult to construct an algorithm that would read all fonts with high accuracy.
Although technological barriers have been known to present great challenges for developers and manufacturers, a key issue that might be needing even more effort, and surely will have to be tackled in the future is the concern for privacy.
We all remember the scenes of Minority Report, where Tom Cruise’s character is identified and followed by the iris-scanners. (Let us quickly forget how he got rid of them!)
We may not be there yet, but technology is always a step ahead of regulations. And we all know that the next stage for ANPR systems is to integrate facial recognition with number-plate recognition.
Hence, concerns over privacy will play a key role. In Hungary, a current and controversial modification of the Act on Tourism makes the headlines, as authorities will have access to basically everyone’s daily movements when staying at an accommodation of the hotel industry. All of the actors of the tourism sector will have to register by the end of the year to the Hungarian Tourism Agency, and share their data with NETAK (National Tourism Data Center). Police will have direct access to the data-center. And people are usually uncomfortable being watched by Big Brother. Hell, even shoulder-surfing is annoying!
Examples as the above are only the tip of the iceberg. As ANPR systems gather more data across industries, and additional devices are deployed in more locations than ever, the concerns over privacy of vehicle drivers run high.
People are already questioning why ANPR images are being recorded, as well as where they are stored, for how long and how secure they are?
These concerns will have to be proactively addressed by manufacturers and installers alike, to help prevent a public backlash against these technologies.
Technological breakthroughs of ANPR
ANPR devices are now more likely to have analytics deployed on the camera. They do not require back-office processing software to perform their functions, which reduces the overall system set-up costs and lowers adoption barriers across many industries. Processing power improvements have allowed ANPR devices to become much more compact, further simplifying installation.
Speed and traffic enforcement devices can now offer more functions than ever before, such as seat belt detection in vehicles and helmet detection for motorcyclists. The more advanced algorithms used in these devices rely on machine learning and deep-learning techniques to analyze recorded images for seat belt or helmet presence.
Helmet detection and seat belt detection have helped to transform speed enforcement devices into multi-function devices that improve the task efficiency of law enforcement agencies. Detection of dangerous driving, which can tell whether a car is tailgating an emergency vehicle or whether it is driving between two lanes of traffic, is another important add-on feature enabled by analytics powered with artificial intelligence (AI).
ARH is without false modesty a setter of trends in the tools and devices referred to above. The company has been designing and manufacturing smartcams with on-board ANPR software for many years. The SmartCAM family includes a wide range of models: in some variants the dual sensor dual lens design serves to further enhance number plate recognition accuracy, in others it functions as an Overview camera. The camera runs 4 pre-installed plate recognition engines by default, which covers most common license plates worldwide.
ARH has also a wide range of traffic enforcement solutions to offer. TrafficSpot® collects valuable road traffic data – in the city or on the open road. It is an innovative yet field tested complex automatic solution that helps traffic authorities (or highway management organizations) to monitor traffic, optimize traffic control, collect road toll and generally streamline transportation.
Operators of ANPR systems, biometric ID systems and video analytics applications can flexibly develop possible uses tailored to their partners’ requirements – using ARH’s prime technology.