This review represents an extensive and systematic survey of the state of the art of automated visual inspection. This is a multidisciplinary research field, comprising aspects of physics, mathematics, computer science, artificial intelligence and engineering. With the aim of achieving a comprehensive overview of the subject, the reviewer has examined computer vision algorithms for inspection, expert systems and neural networks, the elements of vision inspection systems, advances in hardware for image processing and many diverse industrial applications. This review is divided in two parts: part I involves conventional methods and part II considers approaches to intelligent systems. After discussing the major factors involved in industrial machine vision, in each part some problems and trends in current research are indicated, and possible areas for future investigation are suggested on the basis of the surveyed literature.