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Term coined about 1946 by a Ford Motor Co. engineer, used to describe a wide variety of systems in which there is a significant substitution of mechanical, electrical, or computerized action for human effort and intelligence. In general usage, automation can be defined as a technology concerned with performing a process by means of programmed commands combined with automatic feedback control (seecontrol system) to ensure proper execution of the instructions. The resulting system is capable of operating without human intervention.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on automation, visit Britannica.com.