Traffic & transportation

February 14, 2019

Terminology and Abbreviations of the ANPR Industry – Part III

In the previous part of ANPR terminology, you could read about photography terms used in ANPR and transportation jargon used in ANPR. In the present part you can review spelling and term differences of US and UK English in plate recognition.

US English – UK English – International English: Differences in Word Use and Spelling

Did you know that “number plates” are called “license plates” in American English? This is why when you approach a company with your automated license plate recognition (ANPR) solution, they most likely raise an eyebrow. But why is this distinction if both “number plate” and “license plate” mean the same?

In addition to the United Kingdom, many countries like South Africa, Australia, and India that used to be part of the British Empire use British English. Also, countries where English is taught at schools as a foreign language, tend to prefer the British variety. On the other hand, most English language media – ranging from TV series to music lyrics – means daily exposure to an American variety of English. Some vocabulary differences relevant to ANPR are shown in the chart below.

Table 1: Lexical differences of English varieties in ANPR-related terms

When you set the spellchecker while writing a document, you have to select the proofing language. There are multiple varieties of English on the list – from Australian English all the way to Zimbabwe English – as there are many spelling differences. See the table below for some US/UK orthographic differences.

-ense – as in license-ence – as in licence
-er – as in kilometer-re – as in kilometre
-ize – as in recognize-ise – as in recognise
-og – as in analog-ogue – as in analogue
-or – as in harbor-our – as in harbour

Table 2: Some spelling differences between American and British English

International English: British or American?

With differing standards and conventions, how do internet users and copywriters know which English to use? Style sheets advise writers: once you start using US spelling, stick to it. The same applies to UK spelling. It doesn’t look good on the printed page to see alternative spellings – like centre and center – within the same text. It makes a sloppy impression. Search engines, on the other hand, are said to automatically include spelling variations of any given search word – they even correct spelling mistakes.

The message to take home: when browsing the web, you can’t go wrong – as an author, it is best to be consistent.

Trade Show Culture, Social Sites, Magazines, Companies

Regional differences are blurred at international events like trade fairs/trade shows and expos, functioning as the primary scenes of communication for stakeholders of the ANPR industry.

Discussion groups like ITS on LinkedIn create shared terminology serving as a common language for the industry. A company’s social media presence, for instance, Adaptive Recognition’s LinkedIn profile and updates, tell a lot about the company’s evolving technology and presence at international expos within the industry. Tech news published in magazines is also a communication channel. Although the publisher is headquartered in the UK, the magazine Intertraffic World, for instance, prefers ALPR to ANPR.


In summary, industry terminology evolves organically via exhibitions, online forums, and publications as well as channels of corporate communication.

As a way of closing this article, we suggest that you visit the previous articles in this series and test your knowledge about ANPR acronyms in the chart below.

AcronymFull nameExplanation for non-experts
AIDAutomatic Incident DetectionVideo analytics to identify traffic events
AVIAutomatic Vehicle IdentificationAnother name for ANPR
ALPRAutomatic License Plate Recognition
Automated License Plate Recognition
Technology to read vehicle registration plates, called number plates in the UK and license plates in the US
ANPRAutomatic Number Plate Recognition
Automated Number Plate Recognition
Technology to read vehicle registration plates, called number plates in the UK and license plates in the US
ANPR cameraAutomatic Number Plate Recognition camera
Automated Number Plate Recognition camera
Camera purpose-built for plate recognition, plate and image capturing
APIApplication Programming InterfaceTools for building application software that makes it easier to develop a computer program by providing all the building blocks
CCTV cameraClosed-Circuit Television CameraAlso known as video surveillance. Note that CCTV cameras are not designed for ANPR, that’s why CCTV still images and video will be inferior to those produced by LPR cameras
DVRDigital Video RecorderCurrently, the expression describes computer applications – rather than standalone devices
ETCElectronic Toll CollectionA system where fees for the use of the road (road pricing) are paid/received without using cash
FPSFrame Per SecondHow many video frames are recorded in a second
GPSGlobal Positioning SystemIn ANPR, it usually comes up in the context of measurement point location identified by coordinates
GUIGraphical User InterfaceThe menus, buttons, and icons where users can control the operation of a device or system 
IPInternational Protection Marking or Ingress Protection MarkingInternational standard to indicate waterproof and dustproof, e.g. IP67 rated camera
IPInternet ProtocolSee at ‘IP camera’ below
IP cameraInternet Protocol CameraA camera that is remotely accessible via a computer network and the Internet. The term usually describes surveillance cameras or webcams, but many LPR cameras today are designed for web-based operation, as well.
IRInfra-RedIn ANPR, this type of invisible light improves imaging without distracting drivers
ITSIntelligent Transportation System
Intelligent Transport System
A smart way of transport and traffic management for the safer and more coordinated use of transport networks
LPRLicense Plate RecognitionTechnology to read vehicle registration plates, called number plates in the UK and license plates in the US
LPR cameraLicense Plate Recognition cameraCamera purpose-built for plate recognition
OBEOn-Board EquipmentA device inside the vehicle to communicate with tolling systems: it is a way to identify the vehicle
OBUOnboard UnitA device inside the vehicle to communicate with tolling systems: it is a way to identify the vehicle
OCROptical Character RecognitionComputer technology to read physical letters and numbers and turn them into digital data
PoEPower over EthernetA single cable to provide both data connection and electric power
RFIDRadio Frequency IdentificationIn the context of traffic management, it is a type of remotely accessible passive wireless chip to identify a vehicle
SDKSoftware Development KitTools that allow the creation of applications built on software
VMSVariable Message SignAlso called an electronic message sign, it displays textual messages for drivers like “Construction workers ahead”
VMSVideo Management System
Video Management Software
Video Management Server
It collects and stores video from cameras and other sources and makes them accessible for applications
VPRVehicle Plate RecognitionTechnology to read vehicle registration plates, called number plates in the UK and license plates in the US
Sensors built into the road surface to measure the axle weight of passing vehicles

Table 3: Abbreviations widely used in the ANPR industry