DRS Defense Technical Services: 100 M$ for U.S. Customs and Border Protection License Plate Readers.


DRS Technical Services Inc., a DRS Defense Solutions company, announced today that its Maritime & Security Solutions business unit was awarded a fixed price, indefinite- delivery indefinite-quantity contract worth up to $100 million to enhance and expand the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency’s license plate reader (LPR) program.

DRS will work closely with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deploy the next generation of LPR mobile and handheld technology at land border ports of entry and border check points. DRS will use Elsag North America cameras, processors and special license plate reading software in support of the CBP mission.

Dr. Mitchell Rambler, president of DRS Technical Services, Inc.: “DRS Technical Services is pleased to support U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a component of the Department of Homeland Security, in its mission to secure U.S. borders. Our team will bring world-class products and services to this critical homeland security initiative.”

DRS Technical Services, Inc., headquartered in Herndon, VA, provides turnkey, full lifecycle communications and security systems to defense and homeland security organizations, as well as other federal, state and international government organizations.

MPH-900 Applications > Automatic License Plate Reader


An Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) is an image-processing technology used to identify vehicles by their license plates.

It is a special form of OCR (Optical Character Recognition) where algorithms are employed to transform the pixels of the digital image into the text of the number plate Systems commonly use infrared lighting to allow the camera to take the picture at any time of day.

There are many applications for License Plate Readers such as traffic and parking management, tollbooth operations and area-access control. One of the fastest growing applications is the deployment of ALPR systems by law enforcement agencies across the country to identify persons or vehicles whose license plates are connected to a crime or infraction. Cameras, mounted to police vehicles or stationary structures such as gates or bridges, automatically take photos of license plates at the rate of hundreds per minute. The characters in the photo of the plate are then translated into letters and numbers and compared to law enforcement databases of registered vehicles known to be or suspected of being involved with crimes or infractions. If a license plate that was read matches an entry on a database, the license plate reader system will alert the officer (if the ALPR system is mounted to a police vehicle) or command center (if data is transferred to a remote management facility) that a suspect vehicle is in the immediate area of that ALPR system.

License plate recognition systems utilize algorithms in order to identify a license plate, take a clear image, translate its characters and identify the state that issued the plate. The better the algorithms, the more accurate the information.

Generally speaking, License Plate Readers (ALPRs) can record plates at about one per second at speeds of up to 100 MPH and they often utilize infrared cameras for clarity and to facilitate reading at any time of day or night. The data collected can either be processed in real-time, at the site of the read, or it can be transmitted to remote center and processed at a later time.

An automatic license plate reader is also known by the following terms:

  • ALPR
  • LPR Technology
  • License Plate Recognition
  • License Plate Camera
  • Automatic Vehicle Identification
  • Car Plate Reader
  • OCR (Optical Character Recognition)

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