Busy assembly lines can be dirty places, and nowhere is that more obvious than when a new vehicle rolls out of the paint shop. Specks and imperfections stand out like a sore thumb, and need to be cleaned up before a new car is delivered to a dealership. Previously, Ford relied on manual inspections, but now the automaker's using high-res cameras that capture and analyze over 3,000 images to spot every last speck of dirt.

Sixteen cameras in total, actually, capturing 15 images every second that are then used to create a detailed 3D model of the vehicle. Any specks of dirt, imperfections, or spots that need a paint touchup are highlighted on the 3D model, allowing workers to concentrate on getting the perfect finish, instead of hunting for problems their eyes might miss.

Since installing the camera array in three of its factories, Ford has found a vast improvement in the quality of paint jobs on new vehicles. And it plans to install the system in five more factories in North America in hopes of extending that extra level of quality control to its entire vehicle lineup. [YouTube via Autoblog]