14 March 1995 Image acquisition system for traffic monitoring applications
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Abstract
An imaging system for monitoring traffic on multilane highways is discussed. The system, named Safe-T-Cam, is capable of operating 24 hours per day in all but extreme weather conditions and can capture still images of vehicles traveling up to 160 km/hr. Systems operating at different remote locations are networked to allow transmission of images and data to a control center. A remote site facility comprises a vehicle detection and classification module (VCDM), an image acquisition module (IAM) and a license plate recognition module (LPRM). The remote site is connected to the central site by an ISDN communications network. The remote site system is discussed in this paper. The VCDM consists of a video camera, a specialized exposure control unit to maintain consistent image characteristics, and a 'real-time' image processing system that processes 50 images per second. The VCDM can detect and classify vehicles (e.g. cars from trucks). The vehicle class is used to determine what data should be recorded. The VCDM uses a vehicle tracking technique to allow optimum triggering of the high resolution camera of the IAM. The IAM camera combines the features necessary to operate consistently in the harsh environment encountered when imaging a vehicle 'head-on' in both day and night conditions. The image clarity obtained is ideally suited for automatic location and recognition of the vehicle license plate. This paper discusses the camera geometry, sensor characteristics and the image processing methods which permit consistent vehicle segmentation from a cluttered background allowing object oriented pattern recognition to be used for vehicle classification. The image capture of high resolution images and the image characteristics required for the LPRMs automatic reading of vehicle license plates, is also discussed. The results of field tests presented demonstrate that the vision based Safe-T-Cam system, currently installed on open highways, is capable of producing automatic classification of vehicle class and recording of vehicle numberplates with a success rate around 90 percent in a period of 24 hours.
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Glen Auty, Peter Ian Corke, Paul Dunn, Murray Jensen, Ian B. Macintyre, Dennis C. Mills, Hao Nguyen, Ben Simons, "Image acquisition system for traffic monitoring applications", Proc. SPIE 2416, Cameras and Systems for Electronic Photography and Scientific Imaging, (14 March 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.204823; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.204823
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