Automatic number-plate recognition is a technology that uses optical character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates. This simply means, a camera takes a picture, and a software analyzes the picture to identify a vehicle, then identify a number plate in the vehicle, and read that number plate. This allows for a machine (or any system) to identify a vehicle on the road, much as a human being can do. In Kenya, this is implemented using CCTV cameras on the roads, or cameras specifically designed for this purpose, such as one used in toll stations.
Applications of Automatic number-plate recognition
- Tracking stolen vehicles
- Identifying guest vehicles, hence better visitor management
- Useful in tracking average speed of a vehicle
- Traffic engineering design.
Besides these basic uses, there are more applications that can be useful in Kenya. One such would be identifying fake number plates, and cases where two vehicles have been assigned the same number plate. This would have been a major tip off that could have prevented the terrorist attack at Dusit D2 Hotel complex at Riverside drive.
We need to have technology doing more for us. We should have technology telling us that KCN 340E is a blue Toyota Ractis, and even alerting us that two different cars with the same number plates have been spotted. This way, we shall be a step ahead in identifying crooks before they roam freely in our cities. God bless Kenya.