Vision systems are being applied to a wide range of inspection problems in manufacturing. In 2D systems, a single video camera captures an image of the object and application of suitable image processing techniques enables information about dimension, shape and the presence of features and flaws to be extracted from the image. This can be used to recognize, inspect and/or measure the part. 3D measurement is also possible with vision systems but requires the use of either two or more cameras, or structured lighting (i.e. stripes or grids) and the processing of such images is necessarily considerably more complex, and therefore slower and more expensive than 3D imaging. Ultrasonic imaging is widely used in medical and NDT applications to give 3D images; in these systems, the ultrasound is propagated into a liquid or a solid. Imaging using air-borne ultrasound is much less advanced, mainly due to the limited availability of suitable sensors. Unique 2D ultrasonic ranging systems using in-house built phased arrays have been developed in Nottingham which enable both the range and bearing of targets to be measured. The ultrasonic/vision system will combine the excellent lateral resolution of a vision system with the straightforward range acquisition of the ultrasonic system. The system is expected to extend the use of vision systems in automation, particularly in the area of automated assembly where it can eliminate the need for expensive jigs and orienting part-feeders.