‘Intelligent’ CMMs are likely to become the next generation of CMMs. In this paper the main features of an intelligent CMM are proposed. In operation, the geometric and measuring information of the part would be extracted from its CAD file. A measuring program including the selection of probe and accessories, determination of the features and parameters to be measured, number and positions of the measured points would then be generated automatically. The position and orientation of the part would be recognized by a CCD camera mounted on the CMM. Based on all this information an optimal measuring path is generated and possible collisions are taken into account. The feasibility and reliability of the system are evaluated by measuring several real workpieces.