Smart Campus: Carpark Management System Using Video Analytics
As part of an initiative to build a smart campus, the Carpark Management System at the Bank of China (Hong Kong) Complex (BOC), Yeung Kin Man Academic Building (YEUNG) and Lau Ming Wai Academic Building (LAU) have been upgraded with the video analytics technology. The new Carpark Management System uses the license plate recognition (LPR) and Octopus systems to link up with the workstations at the entrance and exit terminals of various carparks. The data records in any one of the workstations will automatically disseminate to all workstations of the system.
When a car enters the carpark, the new Carpark Management System will use an infrared camera to video capture the car’s license plate and run the video analytics software on it. The numbers and letters on the license plate are then converted into data which is then matched against the campus parking permit database. If the license plate is found in the database, the traffic barrier automatically opens. In case the LPR system cannot recognize the license plate, staff members can still tap their staff cards against the CityU card reader to get access into the carpark.
The system also possesses the anti-passback feature so that no double entry of any user will be allowed.
The benefits of using the LPR and Octopus systems in the new carpark system are manifold. Firstly, the Facilities Management Office (FMO) no longer needs to issue parking cards to staff members who applied for the annual parking permit. Data input will automatically be uploaded onto the central database after the applications have been approved. Thus, staff members do not need to keep multiple cards nor roll down windows for card tapping against the card reader, which is especially useful at the campus ground level carpark of YEUNG during adverse weather conditions.
Thirdly, departments are no longer required to issue parking coupons to their guests if prior application has been made to the FMO. They only need to pass the license plate number to the FMO for inclusion in the guest database. This could save a lot of administrative time and effort.
Finally, visitors could use Octopus cards to settle their parking fees directly at the exit terminal of the carpark. The use of Octopus saves a lot of hassle in handling cash and administrative staff no longer be required to bank-in the parking fees on a daily basis.
To read and recognize the license plate from a video image, the steps involved are as follows:
- Image pre-processing
- License plate positioning
- License plate segmentation
- License plate character recognition