Real-time automatic license plate recognition for CCTV forensic applications

M.S. Sarfraz, A. Shahzad, M.A. Elahi, M. Fraz, I. Zafar, E.A. Edirisinghe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


We propose an efficient real-time automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) framework, particularly designed to work on CCTV video footage obtained from cameras that are not dedicated to the use in ALPR. At present, in license plate detection, tracking and recognition are reasonably well-tackled problems with many successful commercial solutions being available. However, the existing ALPR algorithms are based on the assumption that the input video will be obtained via a dedicated, high-resolution, high-speed camera and is/or supported by a controlled capture environment, with appropriate camera height, focus, exposure/shutter speed and lighting settings. However, typical video forensic applications may require searching for a vehicle having a particular number plate on noisy CCTV video footage obtained via non-dedicated, medium-to-low resolution cameras, working under poor illumination conditions. ALPR in such video content faces severe challenges in license plate localization, tracking and recognition stages. This paper proposes a novel approach for efficient localization of license plates in video sequence and the use of a revised version of an existing technique for tracking and recognition. A special feature of the proposed approach is that it is intelligent enough to automatically adjust for varying camera distances and diverse lighting conditions, a requirement for a video forensic tool that may operate on videos obtained by a diverse set of unspecified, distributed CCTV cameras.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285–295
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Real-Time Image Processing
Issue number3
Early online date19 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • License plate recognition
  • CCTV video footage
  • Traffic monitoring
  • Video indexing
  • Surveillance


Dive into the research topics of 'Real-time automatic license plate recognition for CCTV forensic applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this