Auto Trader iPhone app can read car number plates

The UK’s most popular motoring website, Auto Trader, has today released an iPhone app that uses image recognition technology to read car number plates. The new app enables users to quickly search for vital vehicle info, making car-buying decisions easier.

The Auto Trader Mobile iPhone App can provide make and model records as well as figures around the car’s performance and economy, making it easier for customers to decide what to buy. Additionally the application will allow users to search for information on similar cars and dealers in the area via access to the Auto Trader listings, enabling like for like price comparisons.

A user can be transported from seeing a suitable car on the roadside to finding a model for sale nearby and calling the owner for a test drive just by using the functionality of the application. The software even uses GPS and Maps to help users to find their way to the nearest showroom.

Nick Gee, Director of Mobile at Auto Trader said: “We believe users will find the link between ‘real world’ and ‘digital world’ very compelling, providing a clear differentiator for mobile compared to other media. Using the iPhone users can now search for real-time digital information relating to a car sitting in front of them, a step which combined with the depth of cars listed on Auto Trader takes the car-buying process to a whole new level.”

Research conducted by Auto Trader in January, 2010 showed 45% of visitors to Auto Trader’s mobile site have used their phone to access further information about a car on a dealer forecourt. This figure increased from 40% last July; an emerging behaviour that has been a key influencer in the development of the App. Additionally, half of visitors to Auto Trader’s mobile site access it via an iPhone, providing a ready audience for the new app.