Synthetic image generation for training deep learning-based automated license plate recognition systems on the Brazilian Mercosur standard

G. Silvano, V. Ribeiro, V. Greati, A. Bezerra, I. Silva, P. Endo, T. Lynn
Design Automation for Embedded Systems 25(1), Springer

License plates are the primary source of vehicle identification data used in a wide range of applications including law enforcement, electronic tolling, and access control amongst others. License plate detection (LPD) is a critical process in automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) that reduces complexity by delimiting the search space for subsequent ALPR stages. It is complicated by unfavourable factors including environmental conditions, occlusion, and license plate variation. As such, it requires training models on substantial volumes of relevant images per use case. In 2018, the new Mercosur standard came in to effect in four South American countries. Access to large volumes of actual Mercosur license plates with sufficient presentation variety is a significant challenge for training supervised models for LPD, thereby adversely impacting the efficacy of ALPR in Mercosur countries. This paper presents a novel license plate embedding methodology for generating large volumes of accurate Mercosur license plate images sufficient for training supervised LPD. We validate this methodology with a deep learning-based ALPR using a convolutional neural network trained exclusively with synthetic data and tested with real parking lot and traffic camera images. Experiment results achieve detection accuracy of 95% and an average running time of 40 ms.