Flock Safety LPR Tested

By Derek Ward, Published Jan 06, 2021, 10:56am EST

LPR startup Flock has raised over $80 million, claiming their license plate readers "stop crime", but how well do they work in the real world?

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We tested Flock Safety's LPR camera for over two weeks, examining the following:

  • How accurate are license plate reads overall?
  • How well does it handle increasingly common stacked characters and specialty plates?
  • How accurate is US state identification?
  • How accurate are vehicle make and type identification?
  • How does it handle multiple plates in the scene?
  • How does it handle partial reads?
  • How does the Flock Safety Cloud interface perform?
  • How well does the solar panel work to power the system?
  • 10-minute video review of the Flock UI and system

Executive *******

** *** *******, ***** Safety ********* ********** *** rear ******* ****** ******, day ** *****, **** cars ********* ******* ~** mph (~** ***) ** to ~** *** (~*** kph) *** ********* **** stacked ********** *** ********* plates ***** **** **** issues *** ******* ** past *****. ************, ***** did *** **** ***-***** text, *******, ** ****** as ******, ***** ******* false ***** ** ***** LPR ***** *** *** cloud ** *** **** to ******** *** ***** searches, **** *********, *** list ********.

*******, *** ****** ********* misclassified ******* ***** ***** (e.g., ************ ********** ** Maryland), ******* **** (*.*., mistaking **** *** *****), and **** (*.*., ********* Toyota *** ******). ************, the ****** ** ********* pole ***** ****, **** no ****** ** **** mount, ***** *** ** inconvenient ** **** ************ with ***-******** **********.

***** ***** ***** *** not *********. ** *** testing, ***** ****** **** rarely **** ********* ****** the *** *** **** at *****.

**** ** ****** *** supported.

Video ********

Flock ******* ******** *** *******

***** ******** **** ***** staff ** ******** ** every ******* *** ******** install, ***** ** **** setup, *** *************. ***** markets ******** ** ***-*****, who **** ********* **** the ****** ********* ** implement *** *********, ****** some ***** *** ****** to ****-******* *** **** is *********** (****** **** is ******** ** *** cost).

Accurate ***** ****** *****

**** *** ****** ** 2+ ***** ** *******, Flock ********** ********** **** license ****** ******* *** camera, **** ******** *********** of ******** ******, ***** below.

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******** *** ******* ** night, **** *** ****** using ****** ** ************ when ******** **** ** properly ********** ******.

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Two **** ********

***** ********* ***** ******** width ** "*.* *****" of *******, ******* * single ****** *** ***** two *****, ** ******* plates *** ********* *** present ** *** ***** of **** ****. **** show **** ** ***** documentation, ********* *** ******'* coverage ****** *** ***** with *** ******* **** of **** ** ****:

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Non-Plate **** *******

***** ****** ******* ***-***** text, **** ** ********* on *** ***** ** vans/trucks ** **** ** shadows, ********, ** ****** which **** *** **** issues *** **** ******* in **** *****.

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Multiple ****** **** **************

**** **** ****** **** multiple ******* ****** ** the *****, ***** *** able ** ********* **** each ** *** ****** separately.

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Stacked ********** *** ********* ****** **** ********

******* ***** ********** **** read ** ***** ****** from *** ** ******, and ***** **** ** right. ******* *** ******* characters **** ** *** left ** *****, **** were **** ********* *** included **** *** ****** plate *******.

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No ******* ***** ***** / ***** ********

***** **** *** ******* a ***** ** ********* partial ***** **** ****** in *** ********, ********* in ******* ***** ***** viewed ** ***** **** captures. *** *******, ** the **** ***** * bike **** ****** **** of *** *****, ********* in **** **** ********** being ****. ** *** right, ** **** ******* two **********. **** ** these ****** *** ***** to * *********, *** neither ** ******* *** to ******* *****.

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Incorrect ***** ***** ******

***** ********** ******** ********* license ***** ******, **** when ****** **** ******* in ****. ** ***** plate ***** *** ********* on ***** * ** 10 ***** ****** *** testing.

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Multiple **** ******

****** **** *****, ** noticed **** **** ****** would ** **** ******** times, ***** ***** **** to **** ******** ******* to **** ******* ****** a ***** ******. **** this ********, ** *** common ** *** *** vehicle *************** ******, ***** could **** ******** ** vehicle ****** *********.

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Incorrect ******* **********

****** *******, ** ******* frequent ********* ******* ******, such ** **** ****** SUV ***** ********** ** a "***".

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*******, *** **** *** regularly ********* ** *** recognized, **** ** *** Chevrolet *****:

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***** ****** **** **** frequent ** *****, **** vehicle ********** ***** *** recognized ** *** ** low *****, **** *** plate **********:

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Front ***** ***** *** *********

***** **** *** ******* front ******* ***** ***** by ******, **********:

*** ****** ** ************ designed *** ********** ** capture********** ** ********, ***** is ********** ****** ******. They **** ******* ***** plates *** *** *** designed ** ******* ** the **** ****/********.

*** ******* ******** *****'* response, **** ********* **** accuracy ** ***** ******, even **** ******* ******* during *** ***.

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US ****** ****

***** ****** ********* **** works **** ** ******. European ****** **** *** accurately **** ** *** tests.

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Flock ****** ***** ********* ********

*** ******** ** *** Flock ******'* ***** *********** include:

  • ***** ******: **** ****** ** to *** ***** ***, users *** ********* **** the ******* ***** ****** page, ********* *** ********* search ******** **** *** be **** *** ******* and/or *********.
  • ********* *************: ** **** ***** hits, ***** *** ***** on "******* **** ******" and *** ******* ******* such ** *****, **** and ***** *** **** used ** ****** *******, which ***** ** ****** for ********* **** ** a ******** **** ******* of * ******** *****.
  • ****** *************: ***** ****** ******** a ***** ************ ***-** in *** ****** ** the ****** **** **** alerts ***** ** *** updates ** *** ***********, such ** ********* *** other ********.
  • **** ********: **** ******** *** whitelists (***** ***** ****** classifies ** "*********") *** be ******* *** ****** either ********* ** *** import ** * .*** file. ***** *** **** exported ** .*** *****.

*** ****** **** ****** the *********** **** ***** the *** ******* (****** ~5 ******), **** ** email **** ******** *********** such ** ***** *********, the ****** ******, **** number, *** *** ****** why *** ******* ***** is ** * *******.

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Watermark ****** *****

***** *** ***** ***** the "*****" ********* ***** potentially ***** *** ******* plate ***** ****** * search. ** ***** ***** about ******** *** *********, and **** **** **'* possible *** **** ** do ** ****** *** needed *** *************, ****** there *** ** ******* for ***** ** ** so.

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Physical ********

** *** ******** ********, we **** * **** at *** ******** ************, features, *** ************ ****** of *** ***** ****** camera *** ***** *****. As *** *** ***** panel ******, ***** *** not * *******, ** there *** ********** ******** in *** **** *****, and ****** *** *******, there **** ** ****** with *** ****** ******* off.

***** ******** ****-******* ************. Flock ********* *** **** do *** ********* **** mounting:

** ********* **** *** mount ******* ** * wall/side ** ********, **** for ******** ******* (**** of ******/********* ************* **** holes), *** **** ******* it **** **** ** limit *** *****/******* **********.

*****

*** ***** ** * typical ***** ****** ****** for "************" *** ** $2,000 *** ****** *** year, ** *********:

******* ** ****** ********-*******. For*************, ** * ***-**** contract, **’*$*,*** / ****** / year. **** ******** ********** ************, ***********, ******* hosting, ******** *******, *** software *******.

*** "************" ****** **** includes * ****** "********" list, *** ** ***** configurable ********.

***** ** **** * "police-grade" ****** ***** ******** hotlists *** *********** ** government ********, ***** ** priced ** $*,*** *** year.

*********-***** ****** ****** ** $2,500 / ****** / year**** * ***-**** $*** installation ****. **** ******** ***********, ******* *******, cellular *******, ********* ******* alerts, *** ******** *******.

Comments (18)

**** ***** , **** done ****

***** ******* *** **** this ** * ****** Xterra *** * ****.

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* *** **** ***. I ***** ** ***'* be *** **** ** Flock ************** ** **** also *************. :)

***** *** ***** *** UD #*, **** *** changed!

** * **** *****, I ** ******** ** this *****************!

* **** ** ** Xterra's...

****** **** ** *** why **** **** ** an ********* **** * was **** ****** ** be *******. * ***** hope **** *** **** team **** ** ** me **** ****** ** help **** ******** ***** high ********* *** *** as ** ****** *** at **** ** ****** to ** *********. ** you *** ********* ** on * ****** ****** for ********* **** ** something **** **** ** simply ***** *** *** chose ** **** ********* it ***** ** ***********.

#*, ****** *** *** help. * ***'* **** why ******* ***** **** comment ********* *** * would *** ***** ***** it. * **** **** you ** *********** **** to ********** ****.

******, ***** *** ** worry * **** ***** I **** **** *** 1 ***** ** *** last *** ***** * was **** **** ******* as ** *** * could ******* ** ************* skills ** *** ****** or ******** *** ********** of ****** ****** ** the ******. ***'* ******* see * *** ** frowns, ****** **** ***, so *** ******* ** to ***. ***** *** again.

******** * **** ***** upset **** **** *** now * **** ** Peugeot?

**** ***** *** ********* plates **** ** *******, and *** *** *** system ** ** *****? Our ********** ** *** market (**) ** **** the ******** ** *** asked ** ***** *** most **** ********* ******. And ***** **** ****** are ***** *** *** reflective ** **, *** same ******** **** **** metal ****** ** ***** fail ** **** ***** plates, *** **** *****.

***** ** #*,

****** *** **** ******* the ******, ***** **** only * ******* ** temp ****/****** ****, ****** during *** *******, **** were ********** ******* *****.

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** *** *********, ********* temp **** **** **** accurate, **** *** ********** reads ****** *** ***/**** tags, ** **** ****:

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***** *** *** *** detail. **** ********** ** what * ***** **** guessed. ** **** *** a *** ** ***** vehicles **** **** (****-*******), damaged/faded ***** ****, *** paper **** ****** ** plastic ****. *** ******* bags (** **** **** dry ** *** ****) are *** *****, ** the ***** **** ******* off ******* ** *** bag, ****** **** *** and ***** ****** *********.

***, ****'* ****! ** terms ** *** ******** bags, *'* ******** **** are *** ***** ********-***** baggies *** *** *** grocery ***** ******* *** variety, ******* ** ****'* the ****, * ***'* know **** *** ****** would *** *****.

****** *** *** ******-** info!

**** ** ** ******* from ******* *****:

IPVM Image*** *** *********** **** put *** ****** ** these ******* ******* **** inevitably *** ******** ** creased **** ****. *** individuals ****** ** ***** own ****** (*** *** find * ******** *** anything ** *** ********) will *** **** ** Ziplocks ** ********* *******. Now ******* ****** ****** sun ** *** *******, or **'* *****. ****** usually ***'* ****** ***'* or ********* ***** ***** valid *****. *** *** list ** ****** ***** plates, ** **** **** (fortunately) ***** **-*** * paper ***** ** ******** crimes.

**** ******** **** **** on *** ****** (******* speed, ****, ***)? **** Flock ***** *** **** to ****** **** ** is **** **** ***** in?

** *****,

****** ******** *** **** coded, ** ***** *** no *** *** ** to *** ** ** it *** *** **** was ***** ****. ***** are ** ****** ******** to ***** ** ***** Safety ***** *********.

*****, **** *******. *** you **** ***** **** of *** ********** ****** this *******. * ***** see ** **** ****** you **** ******** ****** this *** ****

**** ***** **** ** PII ********** ****** **** testing

** *** **, * do *** **** ** any ***** ***** ** capturing ******* ****** ** we *** *****.

** *** *** ********** in **** ** ******** on **** ***** *** some ** *** **** controversial *********, **** **** -**** ******* ***** * Private ************ *******. ** Tracked ******* **** **

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