Sign Up
ANPR Software, Product

ALPR Vehicle Types [Updated 2023]

This article dives into the various Vehicle Types and covers some reasons why Plate Recognizer decided to augment its Vehicle Classification algorithms for its license plate recognition software and vehicle model recognition software.

What are Vehicle Types?

Vehicle Type also known as Vehicle Classification is a way of sorting and categorizing a vehicle based on the similarities in its features, design, body shape, body style and utility.

Each Vehicle Classification helps to create a broad spectrum for different vehicles with visible similarities and a general means of identifying and characterizing several types of vehicles irrespective of the manufacturer or model.

As with all characterizations, some categories can be tricky to differentiate since a vehicle may have inherent traits to bleed into a different category. 

If you’re finding yourself lost already, a good place to start is our article on what is license plate recognition.

What are the Different Types of Vehicles?

There are several categories for vehicles ranging from the very common sedan with four doors to coupes, SUVs and many more.

Here are some of the generally accepted Vehicle Classification:

  • Sedan – a passenger car with a closed body that’s designed for maximum comfort for passengers with three separate compartments for engine, passengers, and cargo respectively. Sedans often have four doors while some may have two. Examples include Vauxhall Corsa and Honda.
  • Coupe – a passenger car with a tilting or truncated rear roofline and usually two doors although several four-door cars have also been described as coupes. Examples include Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche Boxster.
  • Sports Car – a high-performance automobile designed aerodynamically to reduce air resistance and enhance its speed. They are designed to have a low center of gravity, powerful engine, steering and suspension designed for precise control at high speeds. They generally are two-seaters, but sometimes have small rear seats as well. Cars like the Ford Mustang, McLaren 600LT and Koenigsegg Jesko are typical examples of sports cars.
  • Convertible – a passenger car with a roof that can be retracted, removed or folded. Convertibles give passengers a thrilling open-air driving experience with the ability to provide a roof when required. Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, BMW Z4 and Porsche 911 Targa are examples of convertible cars.
  • Station Wagon – a vehicle with a squared-off roof and a rear flip-up hatch door in the back that swings upward instead of the conventional trunk. This gives the hatchback more cargo space compared with a regular sedan. Hatchbacks are sometimes referred to as a three-door or five-door cars. Examples of Hatchbacks include VinFast Fadil, Smart Fortwo and Opel Meriva.
  • Hatchback – a vehicle that’s often misrepresented to be the same as SUVs but is different based on the architecture. Crossovers are built using a unibody platform which is the style often used in most passenger cars while an SUV is built using a truck body-on-frame platform. Examples of crossovers include the Nissan Qashqai, Chevrolet Equinox, and Toyota Venza.
  • Crossover – a vehicle that’s often misrepresented to be the same as SUVs but is different based on the architecture. Crossovers are built using a unibody platform which is the style often used in most passenger cars while an SUV is built using a truck body-on-frame platform. Examples of crossovers include the Nissan Qashqai, Chevrolet Equinox, and Toyota Venza.
  • Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) – a vehicle that combines the properties of road-going passenger cars with features like raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive. Several SUV models have different sizes ranging from subcompact, mid-size and full-size. Examples of SUVs include Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Xpander and Maserati Levante.
  • Minivan – a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) based on a passenger car platform with a lower body designed to transport passengers and cargo efficiently. Most minivans have adjustable seats that often can be removed or even folded to create a huge open cargo space. Honda Odyssey and Mahindra Supro are great examples of minivans.
  • Van – a multipurpose enclosed vehicle having a boxlike shape, rear or side doors, and side panels often with windows used for transporting a large number of passengers or cargoes. Hyundai H350, Volkswagen Transporter and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter are examples of Vans.
  • Pickup Truck – a light duty vehicle having an enclosed cab and an open cargo bed at the rear in which goods can be carried. Examples include Isuzu KB, Ford 150 and Mazda Titan.
  • Motorcycle – a two or three wheeled motor vehicle that can be used for mini transportation of passengers and cargoes. It is often called a motorbike or moped. Examples include Ducati Scrambler, Bajaj Boxer and the Suzuki Intruder.
  • Bus – a large-wheeled road vehicle designed to carry a lot of passengers including the driver. Buses can have a capacity ranging from 50 to as many as 300 passengers depending on the design which could be a single-deck rigid bus, a double-decker or an articulated bus. Examples of buses include the Scania OmniCity and Iveco.
  • Long-haul truck – a hauling freight with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 pounds. Examples include the Freightliner (top-selling semi-truck in the USA), Kenworth and Volvo VNL.
Plate Recognizer ALPR Vehicle Types

Source: Various websites.

Former Plate Recognizer Vehicle Types

Here at Plate Recognizer, we aim to do better each day. After some research, we concluded that our previous Vehicle Classifications were not as useful as it could be. We had just eight different Vehicle Types and one slot, “Unknown”, for undetermined vehicle type.

The old Plate Recognizer’s Vehicle Types include Ambulance, Bus, Motorcycle, Taxi, Sedan, Taxi, Truck and Unknown.

Some of the notable challenges with the previous classifications are outlined below:

  • It is very difficult to differentiate between a taxi and a car, since Uber and Lyft are technically taxis too.
  • Long Haul Trucks and Personal Trucks also cannot be differentiated. This is problematic for several ALPR use-cases.
  • Ambulance and limousines are seldom seen.
Plate Recognizer ALPR Old New Vehicle Types

Source: Various websites.

New Plate Recognizer Vehicle Types

Plate Recognizer’s new classification is simple and elaborate. Vehicles can now easily be classified into several Vehicle Types that are fairly distinct and self-explanatory.

The new Vehicle Types are:

  • Big truck – this includes long-haul trucks. Examples include Vauxhall Corsa and Honda.
  • Bus
  • Motorcycle
  • pickup truck
  • Sedan – this includes coupes, sports cars, convertibles, station wagons, hatchbacks and crossovers.
  • SUV
  • VAN – this includes minivans.
  • unknown

As a side note, a Big Truck is a truck that’s classified as Class 6 or above. Big Trucks have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 19,501 pounds and in some countries, require a Commercial Driver’s License.

Benefits of Using New Vehicle Types in ALPR

The ability to classify vehicles accurately with the new Plate Recognizer Vehicle Types can help provide an added dimension to your ALPR analysis.

  • Faster Surveillance – Vehicle make model recognition makes it easier for law enforcement agencies and authorities to identify target vehicle and issue a citation. Similarly, it is a whole lot easier to spot an SUV with license plate 123ABC as opposed to just a plain vehicle with license plate 123ABC..
  • Customer Segmentation – A retail store may want to better understand its clientele by analysing the types of vehicles that show up in the parking lot. Or an outdoor billboard may show a different ad for a sedan versus a minivan.
  • Easier Identification – While an ALPR system can read the full license plate, a human being may spot a black SUV with 73 in its license plate. With this information, you can search within our parking management solution to easily identify that specific vehicle.

The best part about our New Vehicle Types is that it is included in our base Plate Recognizer ALPR engine. This means that even those on our Free Trial for Snapshot or Stream can take advantage of the New Vehicle Types.

System Error.  What’s This ?

Wait, what is this?  Is this a sedan, a station wagon or an SUV? 

They call this The Hearsche. Source: Reddit.

This is a tough one. That’s why we have our Unknown Vehicle Type.  This vehicle certainly belongs there as well as vehicles where our machine-learning software is not able to confidently characterize.

Furthermore, extreme weather conditions like large amounts of snow can impact your license plate recognition system.

We’ll continue to enhance the model to accommodate new and different types of vehicles. 

Let us know if you have any specific needs or requests for the New Vehicle Types!

Contact Us

Have a question about ALPR or Parking Management Software? Contact Us

About Plate Recognizer

Plate Recognizer provides accurate, fast, developer-friendly Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) software that works in all environments, optimized for your location. Sign up for a Free Trial!

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound