The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) deployed SRI’s advanced address recognition system for automated letter sorting in 1997. It was a major enhancement to the USPS’ existing multiline optical character recognition (MLOCR) system, which was then capable of processing 12 pieces of mail a second. SRI’s system offered up to 12 percent improvement in sorting rates, which could result in millions of dollars in cost savings.
The system had two SRI-developed modules (an address block locator and word recognition system), optical character recognition (OCR), and directory search software. The system used an electronic camera to image the front face of letters, identify their destination addresses, and determine their delivery point barcodes.
SRI also worked with the USPS to improve algorithms, upgrade barcode detection functionality and reading, enhance handwritten address discrimination systems, and incorporate refinements into the address recognition system.