A dynamic range of intelligent ALPR cameras
Read the article in Traffic Technology International
Not so long ago, once you’d installed a traffic camera, you were pretty much stuck with the setup. The ALPR functions were fixed and left to perform their duty – for better or worse.
Now, within MAV’s range of Rapier cameras, settings can be fine-tuned and adapted in real-time by remote or integrated ALPR engines to give the best recognition possible. MAV Systems build ALPR cameras for partners around the world and are at the forefront of this new, intelligent camera technology.
“We have open architecture cameras that our partners can use at whatever level they want,” confirms MAV Systems CEO Steve Walker. “This provides them with access to control the camera and illumination so they’ve got really tight integration with their ALPR engine or application. Our partners don’t think of our cameras as being inanimate, by adjusting the settings dynamically they create their own intelligent solutions”. Rapier cameras work with all traffic speeds and changing daylight or night conditions, and still give the best image every time. “It’s comparable to the evolution in modern cars. You used to take them into the garage once a year for a mechanic to tune up. Now, every time the engine turns over, it’s tuning itself. It’s like that with our ALPR cameras, they are getting more capable and intelligent in their own right. This helps with reading the massive variability of plates worldwide including dirty plates, clean plates or damaged plates. You’ve got to be able to deal with them all.”
Coming into focus
Of course, no matter how intelligent a traffic camera is, it still has to be installed before it can start delivering results. MAV’s latest Rapier 50IQ intelligent cameras work with a single PoE connection, which helps to make this happen quickly, at low cost and efficiently. “Every camera we have has a zoom capability,” explains Walker. “whereas most of our competitors use fixed lenses.” Although fixed lenses may reduce up-front cost, it can end up being expensive and inadequate. “What you find with a fixed lens camera is that the customer has to do an extensive site survey to find out where to put it and define the closest lens to what they want,” says Walker “Our cameras can capture two lanes anywhere from 3m to 50m and use optical zoom lenses to keep the raw resolution. Turn up, install, and set up perfectly. There’s also the option to update the configuration online at any time.”
“We also have truEZoom™ technology in Rapier cameras, which means the camera can automatically set the field of view of the camera and the focus point to be at whatever distance you specify. In this way, we’ve changed installation from needing specialist ALPR engineers, to it being practical for a whole range of electrical contractors and CCTV installers. We’ve made it so our customers can reduce their install costs dramatically.”
Designed for the future
Another way that MAV support its partners is by designing in long-term availability of camera modules and circuitry. This is essential to avoid having to go through expensive approval processes more than once. “A number of our customers have built our cameras into something that’s gone forward for full type approval,” says Walker. “Once you’ve got that system approval, it’s effectively a lock-down. That’s why we design everything in-house, so that we can control the consistent quality and lifecycle of our entire range. Once you’ve spent hundreds of thousands getting type approval for a system, the last thing you want is for the next batch that comes through to find that the specifications have changed. We can assure our customers that will not happen.”
Walker is confident about the coming years for MAV. “Our launch of the Rapier 50IQ in 2015 has had brilliant market feedback and we have a range of exciting developments sitting behind it. We’ve never been more optimistic about helping our growing base of solution partners expand their markets by working with our ALPR cameras.”
What sets MAV Systems‘ ALPR cameras apart from the crowd?
- Open protocol allows partners to adjust settings with their own software
- Dynamic link allows for constant fine-tuning
- Full zoom capability enhances flexibility and eases installation
- truEZoom™ allows for field of view and focus points to be set automatically
- In-house manufacture guarantees uniform build
- Sealed units extend life and make cameras suitable for all weather