AUTOMATON (from the Greek word "automaton", which means self-moving * EN: automaton; DE: Automat; FR: automate; ES: autymata; RU: автомат) is the device (or the set of the devices) which performs the operations according to the given program without the direct human participation, such as the receiving, storage, transformation, transmission, and usage of the energy, material, or information.

They use the automatons in order to increase the productivity and facilitate the work of the human person, in order to relieve him from his work in the hard to reach places, and the life threatening, harmful for the health conditions.

They distinguish the following automatons, technological (for example, the injection molding machines in the foundry, various automatic machines), energetical (the devices of the energetical systems, electrical machines, electrical networks), transportation (automatic driver, automatic brake, etc.), counting, including the computers, etc. Depending on the operating conditions and the type of the used energy, they distinguish the mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical (electronic) automatons, and the combined automatons (for example, electromechanical, pneumo-electrical).

The sequence of all the main and auxiliary operations, which are performed by the automatons (the duty cycle), is determined by its program, which is specified either with the help of the punch cards, the tape, or other information storage media, or with the help of the simulating devices. The program, which is specified by the information storage media, has little to do with the structure and design of the automatons, which ensures its versatility.

The automatons, which are able to remember and generalize the experience of their work, and to apply it appropriately in accordance with the changing conditions of operation (self adjusting automatons), are used in more places. The transducers and feedback devices, the devices for the memory, control, self-tuning, etc., are obligatorily included in the composition of such automatons, which greatly complicates their structure and design. However, the functionality of the automatons is enriched to the extent, which is required in order to perform very complicated technological processes and control processes. See also the automated control system.