Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) systems are useful for various surveillance and security purposes. While ALPR is a mature technology, customization for individual countries plates is ongoing. The utility of such systems may be increased if they provide real-time information and if they can be deployed easily using low-cost embedded hardware.
In this paper we describe a FPGA-based real-time ALPR system which may be embedded and which is geared towards plates with either Roman or Arabic characters. We believe it is the first system with this combination of features. We report a modest 84% success rate for our OCR algorithm in field tests and a corresponding hardware response time of 1.3ms reflecting a 200x improvement over software only techniques.