Autonomous vs. Automatic Robots Know the Difference (1)

Autonomous vs. Automatic Robots: Know the Difference

The difference between Autonomous and Automatic robots lies in the level of human interaction with them.

Complex series of actions were reduced for the humans in many ways with the introduction of robots in daily tasks.

Over the course of last few years, with the advancement in robotic technology, a classification has been done amongst the robots based upon their functionality. These were so divided according to their technical nature as autonomous and automatic robots.

The main difference between autonomous and automatic robots lies in the amount of human intervention in the processes of both.

Autonomous can be defined as the robotic technology which is able to respond the real world with minimal human intervention. This intervention part may involve initialization of robot like switching it on.

Whereas automatic robots are largely dependent on the human intervention when it comes to doing various set of tasks. These human interventions may range from guiding the robot along its route or predefining the complete process for it.

Key point of Difference between autonomous & automatic robots

Here we will be discussing the difference between both autonomous and automatic robots on the basis of their usages, types, components and various real life examples that we’ve in use.

Differentiating on the basis of Usages

Autonomous robots can nowadays be seen mostly being used in the large warehouses where in they have been successful at reducing the workload of human labor.

They help carry the large and heavy goods across the warehouse. They are also useful at loading and unloading of the goods without any error.

Automatic robots on the other hand can be seen doing mostly repetitive set of tasks. These can be seen in the manufacturing industries, mostly helping with tasks related to part transfer, welding, painting, cutting etc.

Differentiating on the basis of their types

Autonomous robots are classified into 4 different set of robots.

Programmable Automatic Robot

These type of robots are re-programmable on the basis of tasks that they have been or are going to be trusted with. The job functions and the program change as the task changes.

Non- Programmable Automatic Robot

As the name defines itself these type of robots can’t be reprogrammed as they are programmed only for a specific task.

Robotic arms used in industries can be termed as the best examples of such type of autonomous robots

Adaptive Robots

These type of industrial robots are called so because of their technical properties of getting reprogramed for a specific task.

After evaluating the task it has been designed to perform it is able to perform the task in the adapted area.

Intelligent Robots

These type of robots can mostly be found in armed forces, medical and certain home appliances as well.

These type of robots are known to be intelligent because of their technical superiority over others, as they are capable of vision, hearing as well as sensory reflexion.

Automatic robots type can be classified on the basis of below mentioned points.

Remote controlled robots

These type of robots, dependent on human commands are controlled via remotes from a distance as well.

These type of robots are further classified in two more types which are wired remote control robots and wireless remote control robots.

Manually Controlled robot

These type of robots are controlled directly via manual controls fastened with robotic setup.

Differentiating on the basis of their Architecture

Autonomous robots consist of below mentioned components:


The self-maintenance concept in autonomous robots suggests that the robot should be able to take its own care irrespective of what the situations might be.

In self-maintenance robots, the concept is very simple that robots should be able to evaluate its own status and take corrective measures accordingly.

For example, if a robot senses that its battery needs to be recharged it will quickly seek a charger.

Autonomous Navigation

Concept behind this component of autonomous robots is that it should be able to detect its position and should be able to navigate to an end point.

Earlier robots were updated with CAD floor panels which robots will follow but currently the advancement is undergoing so that robots become self-sufficient in making their own maps to navigate.

Sensing the environment

An autonomous robot should be efficient enough to understand the environment around it.

It should be equipped with appropriate sensors that would help it to do so. Senses like altitude measurement, sense of smell and touch are needed to make autonomous robots this efficient.

Automatic robots consist of below mentioned components:


A robot to perform a specific action like human should be equipped with actuators.

These actuators are small motors that are responsible for helping a robotic machine to be able to mimic the action by allowing it to move its parts.

Power Supply

Automatic robots to perform any task are dependent on either battery or other electricity sources for charge. The robots are designed in certain manners to be able to connect themselves with power source.

Some of the robots extract their power from battery where as some are designed like stationary robotic arms which derive their power from external power storage systems.

End Effectors

These tools help robots to interact with their nearby environments.

Differentiating on the basis of Examples

Roomba, a vacuum cleaner is an example of an autonomous robot.

This robot intelligently detects the barriers in its path while going about its job of cleaning. It’s a computerized vacuum cleaner which is capable of operating by itself without any human interaction.

Example of automatic robot can be presented by Industrial Cartesian Coordinate Robot which is used on CNC lathe production lines for the loading and unloading.

It is completely dependent on computer programs which define its position accuracy. These values can further be changed according to the job requirement.


Robots were introduced to the mankind in order to reduce their hefty workloads. But it’s still a long way for robots to become completely self-sufficient with zero interaction of humans in their working.

You may also like to read:

What is Robotic Process Automation? What are RPA Applications?

RPA vs. AI: Understand the Difference Between the Two

Jason Hoffman

I am the Director of Sales and Marketing at Wisdomplexus, capturing market share with E-mail marketing, Blogs and Social media promotion. I spend major part of my day geeking out on all the latest technology trends like artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, cloud computing, 5G and many more. You can read my opinion in regards to these technologies via blogs on our website.