Difference between the LPR application and the OCR(LPR) engine.

In our current post, I will explain the difference between an LPR application and an OCR engine by showing their main purpose within a system and what we can and should expect from an LPR application and an OCR engine respectively.

Every system aimed at reading license plates – regardless of quality or accuracy – has a piece of software where recognition happens. This module may take different forms like a library, software module or a class. Since the task of recognition is isolated within the system it is a good idea to keep it that way in terms of the system architecture. The LPR business slang for such software is OCR (short for Optical Character Recognition) or LPR engine (where LPR stands for License Plate Recognition).

There are several OCR(LPR) engines available on the market, their main task being reading license plates from images. In most cases the input is an image and the output are license plate data. Following this process, all additional business logic can be programmed independently in other software libraries. In most cases, some of these libraries are very specific so they are developed by the provider of the engine.

However, there are many other tasks like image filtering, trigger handling and other background operations as well. What about these? All need to be performed by the software system. But let’s stop here for a second and take a quick look at the whole system. From this point of view, these are higher level tasks; an LPR application’s job and certainly not the engine’s.

Compared to the single task of character recognition – the sole task of the OCR engine, the full list of tasks of an LPR system is much more complex. This is where LPR applications come into picture. LPR applications strongly rely on the quality of the OCR engine – an inferior engine, will not provide the expected level of recognition rate even if the other functions of the application are well designed.

On the other hand, you can have the best OCR engine in the world, if the application is poorly designed it will bring down the performance of the whole LPR system. These systems are very similar to cars: the body of the car and the engine needs to be compatible with each other for optimal performance. Imagine a family car with a Ferrari engine – utter waste of the engine.

Asura’s LPR application, ARU was created according to this logic; an LPR application that uses an OCR engine as core technology packed up with lots of features handled by the application. With ARU you will have an amazing combination of a powerful OCR engine and an optimized system which will be a game changer in the LPR business.

Szilvia Pandur
Head of Support

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