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This paper proposes an approach to developing an automatic license plate recognition system. Car images are taken from various positions outdoors. Because of the variations of angles from the camera to the car, license plates have various locations and rotation angles in an image. In the license plate detection phase, the magnitude of the vertical gradients is used to detect candidate license plate regions. These candidate regions are then evaluated based on three geometrical features: the ratio of width and height, the size and the orientation. The last feature is defined by the major axis. In the character recognition phase, we must detect character features that are non-sensitive to the rotation variations. The various rotated character images of a specific character can be normalized to the same orientation based on the major axis of the character image. The crossing counts and peripheral background area of an input character image are selected as the features for rotation-free character recognition. Experimental results show that the license plates detection method can correctly extract all license plates from 102 car images taken outdoors and the rotation-free character recognition method can achieve an accuracy rate of 98.6%.
Intelligent Transportation Systems, 2003. Proceedings. 2003 IEEE (Volume:2 )
Date of Conference: 12-15 Oct. 2003