In some countries, vehicles are legally required to display certain visual identifying marks, often in the form of stickers or vignettes behind the windshield, with information related to the use of the vehicle at a certain time or location. For the Asfinag in Austria, CatchSystems developed and commercialized a system that automatically recognizes and reads such stickers. The decoded information can be used to check whether the vehicle registration holder has complied with the requirement to attach a valid sticker behind the windshield. If that is not the case, then the system automatically takes a photo of the license plate, in addition to the sticker, thereby registering the violation.
As the vehicles in question generally travel at high speeds, it’s a considerable challenge to obtain images that are sharp and readable. A system therefore had to be developed that enables the camera to take extremely precise and high-resolution images regardless of the speed at which the vehicle is travelling. The high-resolution images registered by the system are very sharp and detailed, making it possible to zoom in on specific elements that are important to the user of this high-speed system.
The photograph shows that it is possible to read the time indicated on the watch even though the vehicle is travelling at high speed beneath the camera.
The most important application of the high-speed readout system is for reading the toll stickers that are required in some countries for vehicles travelling on the motorways. As access to these motorways is not controlled by toll gates, anyone can use these toll roads regardless of whether they display a valid sticker or not. CatchSystems supplies clients with a sticker readout system that is able to monitor and read these toll stickers very precisely and reliably. If the sticker is not displayed or is no longer valid, the license plate of the vehicle in question is also registered and stored together with the images of the sticker for evaluation in the back office before a traffic summons can be issued. This system is a very effective tool for clients who wish to minimize the unauthorized use of the toll road network, for example in Austria.
A completely new application for the sticker recognition technology was developed in cooperation with the sister company Vidit-Systems specifically for reading out the environmental stickers (‘Umweltplaketten’) that apply to environmental zones in the central areas of German cities. With the help of this technology and an effective enforcement of the regulations, it becomes possible to reduce the presence of vehicles in German cities that produce emissions harmful to the environment. The new technology developed by CatchSystems makes it possible to decode the environmental stickers attached to the windshield and check whether they are valid for the zone in question, which is registered in a database via GPS coordinates. In compliance with relevant German legislation, if a violation of the regulations is discovered, a photo is taken of the license plate and it is then read out. All of the data recorded in this fashion is then stored so that the relevant department of the city in question can follow up with appropriate enforcement measures.
In addition to the examples cited above, additional applications can be created and developed based on the technology developed by CatchSystems and described here. CatchSystems can also work together with other parties and partners to develop and commercialize such applications.