A major airport experienced vehicle theft at their parking facilities. A need existed to ensure that no vehicle leaves without payment in full, as well as with an authorised driver. In addition, the system should be very fast end efficient to ensure no delays at the exit booms, especially during high traffic situations. A further requirement was that a vehicle should be able to enter at any of the over 60 entry gates and leave at any of the over 60 exit gates.
The Detecta system was implemented and offered the following capabilities.
Whenever a vehicle entered the parking facility the driver was issued a parking ticket with a unique code. Detecta recorded both the driver face, vehicle colour as well as the vehicle number plate into a database, linked to the issued ticket.
Upon vehicle retrieval the driver would pay the ticket either on the pay-on-foot system or at an office. This information was sent to the Detecta system which flagged the vehicle parking event as paid up. Upon arrival at the exit boom the driver would insert the parking ticket into the payment system. This event would trigger a comparison on the number plate with the payment ticket and if paid up will allow the vehicle, which is now matched to the ticket, to leave.
This process would ensure that a vehicle could only leave in conjunction with the parking ticket given upon arrival.
Handling of possible problems
A number of potential problems could occur, especially in the context of South Africa.
These included: Delays due to system processing (very large number of vehicles), no number plate, dirt on the number plate, inaccurate reading of the number, etc.
In the case of a failure ie ticket not paid or vehicle number plate not matching the number associated with the ticket, exit would be refused and the driver should contact the operators in a control room. In addition to the possibility of a theft some of the abovementioned problems could have occurred. In this case the operator was presented with a live image of the driver on exit which he/she could compare with the face of the driver on entry. In addition to this the operator could compare the entry vehicle make and colour to the exit vehicle make and colour and decide whether to allow the vehicle to leave provided payment was made. The operator is also presented with the entry number plate image and the exit number plate image to evaluate the no plate or small detection error possibility.
The success of the system was immediately visible, and this was In particular due to the following built-in capabilities.
- Very accurate number plate recognition
- Very fast data turnaround due to system architecture which supported high speed
- Ability to deal with small number issues such as single-digit errors.
- Ability to read any format number, especially foreign numbers
- Ability to integrate over 100 gates into a single system
- Tight integration with the payment system
- Very flexible and user-friendly operator control applications
- Large degree of automation for comparison of various variables to constitute a valid transaction
- Ability to manage a number of access management lists such as white lists and black lists, providing information to security and hospitality systems.
Future developments that would be able to enhance the above, currently implemented in the latest generation of Detecta include
- Automatic identification of vehicle makes
- Ability to compare detected numbers with suspicious numbers provided by Police services, etc.
After commissioning this system reduced vehicle theft to zero and has never resulted in delays at the exit gates, especially during peak times. The system has been in place over 10 years.