Abstract : In the field of industrial vision, the three-dimensional inspection of highly reflective metallic objects is still a delicate task. We deal with a new automated three-dimensional inspection system based on polarization analysis. We first present an extension of the shape-from-polarization method for dielectric surfaces to metallic surfaces. Then, we describe what we believe to be a new way of solving the ambiguity concerning the normal orientation with an active lighting system. Finally, applications to shape-defect detection are discussed, and the efficiency of the system to discriminate defects on specular metallic objects made by stamping and polishing is presented.