Can you read this number plate?
November 21, 2011 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Can you read the letters and numbers on the number plate in this picture? For reasons that should remain confidential at this point, we are trying to track down the company that owns it. Unfortunately, the photo has a significant amount of motion blur (in two directions) and graininess, and Photoshop is not helping. (The only program that seems to handle the deblurring required, Amped Five, is expensive commercial software not available for casual use such as this.) This is a Swedish number plate, so the first three should be letters, the last three digits. Note how the last two digits look like '3' but not quite. None of the searches we have done on the Swedish Transport Agency's web site match a semi of this size.
posted by gentle to Grab Bag (60 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd have to go with RNN 133
posted by fshgrl at 5:09 PM on November 21, 2011


DNH 133
posted by leotrotsky at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'd say DNN 123. But I'm not too confident.

The mudflap has PNO written on it; usually the mudflaps are off-brand unless the trailer is really new or high-profile, but PNO appears to be a trailer company in Finland. Does that help you?
posted by phunniemee at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2011


I think it's QNN or QNH 133 or 188
posted by littlesq at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2011


So, I get that the semi was spotten in Sweden, but is there any (any) chance the truck is based somewhere else?

That said, my guess is Q(or O) NN 133
posted by bilabial at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2011


My guess was QNN 133 or QNH 133
posted by argonauta at 5:12 PM on November 21, 2011


PNN 133
posted by thewestinggame at 5:12 PM on November 21, 2011


DNW 133
posted by tachikoma_robot at 5:13 PM on November 21, 2011


I think it's PNN133 does seem to come up as a truck although I can't read swedish
posted by everyday_naturalist at 5:13 PM on November 21, 2011


I deliberately didn't look at your requirements, in order to get the most out of my intuition. I'm seeing CNH 133.
posted by wnissen at 5:14 PM on November 21, 2011


CNH 163
posted by mosk at 5:15 PM on November 21, 2011


Are any of these guesses using Refocus-It, Refocus, or Unshake? I'm not in a position to try them at the moment, but I wonder if they'd help.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 5:16 PM on November 21, 2011


CN (N or H) 133
posted by insectosaurus at 5:17 PM on November 21, 2011


DNH133

as per the site:

Make: Trailer Group LE 650
Color: Grey
posted by I-baLL at 5:17 PM on November 21, 2011


DNH 133 is what I saw as well.
posted by knapah at 5:18 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


CNH 133 is my guess. I'm fiddling around with it in Photoshop right now, too. If I can make it any clearer I'll check back.
posted by Pecinpah at 5:19 PM on November 21, 2011


Looking at pictures of Swedish license plates, 3s are flatter on top - maybe PNN 166?
posted by songs about trains at 5:19 PM on November 21, 2011


CNM 733 matches this record (passed through Google Translate):

Vehicle Identification
Registration: CNM733
Make: TIAB 2210
Color: LGRÅ Type of vehicle: TRAILER
Fordonsår: 1997 Vehicle Type Class:
VIN: 1117030
Approval number:
The approval date:
Latest EU regbevis Part 1: 2006-12-11
Latest EU regbevis Part 2: 2006-12-11
Commercial name:
Information:

Do I win? :)
posted by wnissen at 5:19 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would have said GNH 133, but I see that nobody else sees a "G" there.
posted by willbaude at 5:22 PM on November 21, 2011


The problem is that I don't think you can actually read the letters and digits. The camera has screwed up the image. The only way to figure out the plate for sure is to fix the image using some motion-deblurring program. I'm going to look at the apps mentioned.

Some of these (DNH133, PNN133, CNM733) match some kind of small trailer. You can see at the bottom, it says "Längd, mm" and "Bredd, mm". Those are length and width in millimeters. These trailers are 3850mm long, ie. 3.8 meters. Also," Totalvikt, kg" says the weight. A trailer of this size would be a large and heavy.

> The mudflap has PNO written on it; usually the mudflaps are off-brand unless the trailer is really new or high-profile

Yeah, PNO is a trailer company, but it also leases them to other transport companies, which makes it probably useless as a clue.
posted by gentle at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2011


PNW 133:

Registration: PNW133
Brand: Polar caravan POLAR 550 GL
Color: WHITE
Type of vehicle: TRAILER
Fordonsår: 1994

Maybe?
posted by tachikoma_robot at 5:26 PM on November 21, 2011


gentle: I'm pretty sure that the measurements are not of the trailer but of the trailer carrier.
posted by I-baLL at 5:28 PM on November 21, 2011


PNW 133:

Total weight, kg: 1300
Number of axles: 1
Length, mm: 7200
Width, mm: 2240
posted by tachikoma_robot at 5:29 PM on November 21, 2011


I saw it as DNH 133, before looking at your requirements or reading the comments, so as to remain unbiased.
posted by pemberkins at 5:30 PM on November 21, 2011


I don't have the Photoshop skills to make this happen, but here's an idea. See how there is a common shape to the distortion in the two lights on either side of the plate? It looks like that same shape is repeated in several characters on the plate. If you could somehow reverse that wiggle, you might get a better image of the plate. I am convinced that the last two characters are NOT 33, for exactly this reason.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:32 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


At first glance it's DNH 133. But I realized that the cross on the N is the same angle as the blurs on all the other letters. It seems likely that the N looking letter is actually something more like an H, and that similarly, what looks like a D is actually a C with the top part blurred down in that line.

Regarding the middle letter, I think it's a letter with two bars, so H M N U or W depending on font. I think it is most likely an H or M. M would make sense because the first part would double up to give a strong N look because of the blur. H would make sense because the tops of all the letters seem to be leaving that dragged blur shape.

The first letter does seem to have a straight line on the left. Despite the trickery with D, a D makes sense because the bottom of the D curve would disappear the way it's blurred.

Similarly with the last letter, which is definitely different from the first. So it could be HMNUW or R. R makes the most sense to me. I think the numbers are definitely 133.

So, best guess: DMR 133. But the one thing that bothers me is that if it's a D and an R, then the top part of those letters should look more similar.
posted by brenton at 5:32 PM on November 21, 2011


tachikoma_robot: That's just a very large mobile home. :-)

Note that when the search result says, at the top of the page: "Fordonet du sökt uppgifter om är registrerat på en privatperson." That means the result is about a private, civilian, non-commercial vehicle. Not a transport vehicle.

> gentle: I'm pretty sure that the measurements are not of the trailer but of the trailer carrier.

Anyone know how this normally works? Wouldn't this mean you would have to change the plates when you change your trailer? How would the trailer be registered — some separate number on the back?

> If you could somehow reverse that wiggle, you might get a better image of the plate.

Yes, that's what I'm thinking, and I agree about the digits. Unfortunately, even though I'm quite competent at Photoshop, I can't think of a way to reverse the "wiggle" process.

Keep the suggestions coming! Appreciate the help!
posted by gentle at 5:35 PM on November 21, 2011


Husband suggests trying a directional blur in photoshop?
posted by JacksonandFinch at 5:41 PM on November 21, 2011


My guess: DNH155
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:50 PM on November 21, 2011


I see CNN 133
posted by jander03 at 5:53 PM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, if you look at the PNO, it appears to be almost a drop shadow effect - there's a shadow image of the letters directly below and a tiny bit to the right of the original text on top. Looking at the license plate, there appears to be a bumper sticker directly below it. The last letter of that seems to be pretty clearly an "E". There's also a shadow image below it, but with more of a drag to the right than the PNO. The top edge of the "E", and in fact on all the crossbars of that letter, are fairly straight across- they don't curve. So based on that, I'm gonna say that the top edges of some of the letters in the license plate are probably curved in reality and not just because of blur/drag. Also, the first three letters aren't very dragged at the absolute top edge. Based on that- I'm gonna say the last three are 188. As for the first three, I can't really tell the first letter, but the second two, based on comparison to pictures of the font on other Swedish plates, look like NH. I'll keep working on the first letter.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:58 PM on November 21, 2011


Have you tried using Focus Magic? Unblurring motion blur is the specific thing that it does. You can see on the website an example of recovering a license plate from a motion blurred image.
posted by MythMaker at 5:59 PM on November 21, 2011


Based on what I said above, I'd try running ?NH-133 through the search, and try replacing the ? with a different letter each time, and see if any of the results look plausable. I'm leaning towards a "T" for the first letter at the moment.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:02 PM on November 21, 2011


Little too much for Focus Magic I think. One blur at 50 deg. and a much longer one at 120. I tried distances up to 20 but that didn't dent them much, and uncertainty gets too high at that level anyway. The movement is so great it's almost a double exposure. Maybe edge detection would bring it out more?
posted by jwells at 6:03 PM on November 21, 2011


Also (sorry!) I didn't go with 3's for the last digits because in the examples I saw online, the top
Of the 3 wasn't curved, it was a straight line.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:05 PM on November 21, 2011


With edge detect, either CNH133 or INH133.
posted by jwells at 6:07 PM on November 21, 2011


Looks like CMH 133 to me. ;)

(Mathematica ImageDeconvolve with a point spread function hacked in Photoshop based on the trail of the point light source right next to the plate.)
posted by trevyn at 6:10 PM on November 21, 2011 [306 favorites]


Amazing, trevyn! Seems to check out from the registration site too.
posted by carter at 6:16 PM on November 21, 2011


trevyn: OMG. You're a genius! That's amazing!

Would you mind pasting the full function? I have Mathematica, would love to play with similar things in the future. While researching a solution to this stuff I came across some papers on deblurring algorithms that showed examples in Matlab or Mathematica (I forget), so it crossed my mind that this was a possibility.

The registration also checks out. The name of the company is Krone, which is what it says in blue letters on the bumper.
posted by gentle at 6:19 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just updated the image link above to a Mathematica screenshot, that should get you what you need.
posted by trevyn at 6:21 PM on November 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think it's brilliant how you can use an image as the input to a function in Mathematica. Not only the original image, but the image used for the kernel function, too. I need to (learn how to) use Mathematica more. Thanks again! And thanks to everyone else who tried. :-)

> gentle: I'm pretty sure that the measurements are not of the trailer but of the trailer carrier.

The records for CMH133 shows the size and weight of the trailer. Maybe it's different in the US?
posted by gentle at 6:31 PM on November 21, 2011


To double check the answer, find a couple of other examples of that style of license plate to check the font. I agree with cmh 133, but I almost think it could be cNh 133 too.

Never mind, that plate belongs to a Chevy Corvette.
posted by gjc at 6:44 PM on November 21, 2011


gjc, while I agree in principle, the registration does check out both on the make of the trailer and the label on the mudflaps.
posted by gentle at 6:46 PM on November 21, 2011


CSI filter.

Seriously, thats cool and thanks for the mathematica screenshot. Oct always wondered how this kind of thing worked.
posted by fshgrl at 7:45 PM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know this doesn't contribute, but: Are you shitting me - math can do that!?
posted by jander03 at 7:54 PM on November 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


Jesus fuck that's the most awesome answer I can possibly... I mean, it's... it's actually "ENHANCE!"
posted by odinsdream at 8:07 PM on November 21, 2011 [30 favorites]


trevyn, your comment-with-answer has been flagged for excellence.

yeah, holy shit it is "ENHANCE!"
posted by likeso at 8:25 PM on November 21, 2011


Wow. That is some sci-fi shit right there.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:28 PM on November 21, 2011


Zoom! Enhance!

AskMe rules.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:08 AM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm getting CNH 166
posted by Thorzdad at 5:31 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks like CMH 133 to me. ;)

A winner is you.
posted by eriko at 7:29 AM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


A future is coming where this can be done automatically in Photoshop, even more clear.
posted by disillusioned at 3:16 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Trevyn, can you please post the Mathematica for "Zoom, Enhance"?
posted by wnissen at 6:11 PM on November 22, 2011


wnissen, it's called super-resolution, and it looks like some code is here. :)
posted by trevyn at 6:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's like a real life version of my previous Ask.
posted by sweetkid at 10:53 PM on November 22, 2011


Not to sound like being 'that guy', but you do realise that Photoshop filters are ALL just some kind of math function, and I'd say most of them can also be done with Mathematica, if you know how. The easiest ones would probably be the blur and edge finding stuff.

Still, nice job. Especially since you make it look so easy. I tend to forget all the details of these sorts of things as soon as a course or project using it is over :(
posted by Harry at 6:56 AM on November 23, 2011


How did you pick the blur kernel? Just a lucky guess?
posted by LogicalDash at 7:21 AM on November 24, 2011


Note that the "super-resolution" uses multiple images of the same scene in order to find a higher resolution image of that scene. This won't help with blurry single images such as that in this post, but it will be extremely useful when there's video/film of a scene and the camera and/or the subject change position relative to each other. This kind of processing can also be used to infer three-dimensional relationships, as well.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:33 AM on November 24, 2011


LogicalDash, I just posterized the light trail on the right side of the plate. I'm sure there's a better way to do this, I was just playing around to see if this kind of thing was even possible. ;) I'm really impressed with the Adobe video above, where they have some sort of automated way to extract the blur kernel.
posted by trevyn at 5:34 PM on November 25, 2011


Trevyn...wow! I used a de-warping filter that we created to correct video from cell phones. It is very fast, creates the ever changing blur kernel, and is fully automated. However, your Mathematica method is king. How long did it take you to form your kernel?
posted by ForensicProtection at 12:17 AM on November 27, 2011


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