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ALPR Technology

Highway at night with streaming lights: 3M's ALPR Technology is

3M is a leader in Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology, designing, manufacturing and supporting its complete line of ALPR products and services. ALPR can be an effective tool in a variety of applications, providing accurate and timely information and allowing users to make quick and well informed decisions in their respective areas. Today, 3M Systems are providing positive results for numerous applications across a wide range of industries:

The use of ALPR technology has grown drastically, seeing rapid and widespread adoption worldwide as a means to providing more accurate and timely information in making critical business and enforcement decisions. 3M advancements include numerous patents for our "Platefinder" and "Triple Flash" technologies as well as new product advancements such as Spike+, an integrated dual lens camera and ALPR processor in one compact housing; the SpikeHD; and the Slate! Our focus and dedication to ALPR technology provides our customers with the most advanced license plate recognition technology available today.

With over 20,000 cameras deployed around the globe and a wide range of patents covering our technology and its application, 3M is easily recognized as a leading provider of traffic related video imaging and license plate capture technology. ALPR is an attractive product to complement or validate RFID or Digital Short-Range Communications.

For more information on 3M ALPR technology, please contact us

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3M ALPR Technology Applications

3M ALPR Technology 3M is unique in that it is based in the United States, and manufactures all major system components. 3M ALPR can accurately perform at traffic volumes of over 1,000 vehicles per hour.

Elements of Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) Technology

  • Platefinder – Sophisticated firmware continually searches the camera's field of view for the presence of a license plate.
  • Dual Lens Camera – As a license plate is detected, the dual lens camera is triggered to capture both color and infrared images of the vehicle and plate. Infrared cameras are able to see license plates regardless of sun glare, darkness, or other adverse conditions.

Triple Flash Technology

This patented technology varies the flash, shutter and gain settings of the camera to capture multiple plate images, ensuring the highest quality photo regardless of light or weather conditions. Only the image determined to produce the highest quality read is sent on for processing.

Optical Character Recognition "Engine"

OCR is optical character recognition, or the ability for a machine to recognize printed characters and convert them into data. 3M develops and maintains its own library of OCR engines. 3M uses a customized OCR engine specific to the state, region, or country of interest. 3M OCR engines are very tolerant of skewed and off-axis plate reads, various plate sizes, syntax rules, and designs. The engine reads the captured infrared plate image and converts it to a data file. 3M uses a customized OCR engine specific to the state or region of interest. 3M OCR engines are very tolerant of skewed and off-axis plate reads, various plate sizes, syntax rules, and designs. The engine reads the captured infrared plate image and converts it to a data file.


In addition to housing the patented platefinder and triple flash technologies, 3M processors perform the OCR translation and can use the captured data in a variety of ways via a 3M software application or 3rd party solution.

Application Software

3M software interfaces, specific to the industry or application, allow the user of the system to easily view and manage the data.

Weather & Lighting

Very extreme weather conditions can have a slight impact on system performance, but due to 3M's use of infrared (IR) illumination and plate capture, accurate system performance will take place in almost all weather and lighting conditions. 3M uses IR illumination and image capture at a wavelength outside of the visible light spectrum allowing for operation in total darkness or bright sun glare.

Color & Reflectivity

The color overview image is a critical piece of context and also helps to create a solid evidentiary record. It provides the user with immediate context (red sedan) of the situation as opposed to the black and white image of the license plate. All license plates are highly reflective to IR, the use of a dual lens camera with IR allows for 24/7 operation regardless of lighting conditions, and the use of IR greatly improves the overall system accuracy.

ALPLR Technology Features

Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR)

Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR)

Electronic Vehicle Registration systems help agencies and organizations ranging from law enforcement, state and local governments to universities and private corporations to electronically identify vehicles to validate identity, status and authenticity of vehicle data, enabling better throughput on roadways and improved compliance and enforcement on mandates.

Improperly or non-registered vehicles create real costs to society. Criminals use non-registered vehicles for illegal purposes knowing the vehicle will be difficult to track by law enforcement. Additionally, it is not fair to law abiding citizens who pay their annual registration while criminals choose not to pay. As this occurs, governments are deprived of precious resources to fund transportation initiatives.

To address these issues, 3M provides Electronic Vehicle Registration (EVR) systems that automatically detect non-registered vehicles at highway speeds. An EVR system uses ALPR cameras and software to verify vehicle registration status in real time. Once a non-registered vehicle has been detected, the system can alert local law enforcement to apprehend the out-of-compliance motorist or, alternatively, automatically send a citation in the mail. Either way, 3M has the technologies, relationships and expertise to develop a highly effective EVR program from design through implementation and operation.

Solutions Include:


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Contact a Sales Representative to purchase or learn more about our customizable solutions, or call 1-877-777-3571.


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