Machine vision is defined as the substitution of the human visual senses and decision-making ability, by image acquisition and computer analysis to perform an inspection task. This process is most commonly utilized as an active imaging technology to automate inspection and analysis for process control and robot guidance in industrial applications. As automation has become more and more prevalent in the manufacturing sector, machine vision technology has rapidly grown into one of the largest markets for laser diodes around the world. Just as with all automation technology, although it started in the factory setting, machine vision has rapidly been making its way into field-deployable technologies as well. Last fall, we wrote a blog post exploring one such field deployable application, laser rail inspection. In this application note, we are going to take a deeper dive into the subject by first reviewing the technology as a whole and then reviewing its use in rail inspection and roadway inspection.