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Automated number plate recognition systems (ANPR) are widely used by law enforcement agencies worldwide. For the most part these systems require the use of specialized cameras connected to digital signal processing devices that perform optical character recognition (OCR) of the license plate. The localization of the license plate (where in the picture is the license plate to be recognized) has historically been an issue for ANPRs. To get around this issue, it has been required that cameras be positioned such that license plates appear consistently in the same area of the image. The output of the OCR process is then forwarded to specialized software that manages the information and links to other databases. The more successful systems require the use of video cameras that work both in the infrared spectrum as well as the color spectrum. The OCR analysis is often finely tuned to the type of license plate that is to be recognized. License plates vary from country to country, state to state, and often over time as well, so there is no general purpose license plate recognition system that will work equally well across a spectrum of plate types without significant re-training for each.
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