ANPR Technology To Help Eliminate Vehicle Cloning

The cloning of motor vehicles currently causes many problems for the motorist and the authorities alike. People who are unwittingly sold cloned vehicles often lose considerable sums of money as a result. People also regularly get billed for congestion charge fines and parking offences that they are innocent of and get accused of being involved in accidents they were nowhere near the scene of. Whatever the instance, such problems can cause the victims of vehicle cloning considerable stress and inconvenience as well as costing them time and money.

The following is an idea which would help to eradicate vehicle cloning and the opportunity to commit the crime by enabling police to quickly identify and apprehend perpetrators. It is a simple procedure that can be incorporated into today's ANPR technology and, with an additional piece of programming, will make it virtually impossible for anyone to sustain activity in a cloned vehicle for any length of time, as long as the genuine vehicle is also being used on the road fairly regularly. The procedure relies on detecting multiple hits of any particular number plate and then computing the time and physical distance between the hit points and locations.

When a vehicle registration plate is read by the system, the time and location of the read is logged into the system. The next time the plate is read, reference is then made to the previous reading. If the time versus distance is greater than would normally be achievable (using best average travelling times), it will be apparent that one of the vehicles is a cloned vehicle. For example, if a vehicle is detected in London, and on the same day it is also detected in Liverpool, and the average travelling time, point to point, is computed as 240 minutes. The system could deduct 15% to allow for extraordinary circumstances and eliminate any margin of error, and would thereby conclude that if the two hits are less than 204 minutes apart, one of the vehicles is a cloned vehicle. If the registered keeper lives in London, the most likely scenario is that the vehicle in Liverpool is a cloned vehicle. Therefore, the system can then put a marker against that vehicle registration for the Liverpool area. It will not be long before it will be detected either by a patrol car with ANPR or by another camera, which can draw the attention of the nearest available patrol car to attempt an intercept.

This system will make it a lot more difficult for criminals to use cloned vehicles on the road, because they will not know whether the real vehicle is out on the road at the same time, whether it has been out recently, or whether it is likely to go out shortly. In fact, with the implementation of this system, the only way criminals can sustain the use of a cloned vehicle is if the real one is not being used on the road at all, but is still fully document legal, thereby not drawing ANPR attention to itself. However, this is a rare scenario and certainly significantly limits the opportunity to commit this type of offence. The implementation of this system would therefore yield significant additional protection for ordinary people, preventing the possibility of them being falsely accused for traffic, parking, or congestion charge offences. It would also provide police evidence in the event of any such false accusations being levelled as it would be possible to show a record of the vehicle being in two places at once. Something we know it cannot be.

A further facility could also be added to the procedure to check the tracking of any vehicles by the ANPR system from location to location. For example if a vehicle is detected in Liverpool, but is registered in London, the system could also be programmed to check for tracking hits in between London and Liverpool. If there are none, then it suggests that the vehicle has just turned up out of the blue in Liverpool, again indicating that it is likely to be a cloned vehicle.

There would have to be a degree of real time communication between all camera systems to facilitate this idea and so the whole ANPR system would have to be networked in some way, if it isn't already. However, if this system could be implemented with all the features, there is a very good chance it could completely eradicate cloned vehicles from being used on our roads.

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