au·​to·​pi·​lot | \ ˈȯ-tō-ˌpī-lət How to pronounce autopilot (audio) \

Definition of autopilot

1 : a device for automatically steering ships, aircraft, and spacecraft also : the automatic control provided by such a device

Examples of autopilot in a Sentence

an airplane equipped with an autopilot The plane was flying on autopilot.
Recent Examples on the Web Brock Lesnar hasn’t been seen in WWE since way back at WrestleMania 36 in March 2020, which comes as no surprise since his impact is significantly limited when fans aren’t around and the WWE product has been on autopilot. Blake Oestriecher, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Mundane tasks like commuting or food shopping remained unticked on my to-do lists – doing anything that easy flicked me into autopilot, the perfect breeding ground for dissociative episodes, flashbacks and panic attacks. Beth Ashley,, 27 May 2021 National Transportation Safety Board investigators suspected early on that Renslow made a deadly error by leaving the plane on autopilot as ice built up on the wings and tail. NBC News, 26 May 2021 To prohibit autopilot from kicking in and make someone aware of the child in an altered routine, Diamond suggests people make a cue for themselves that there is a child in the car. Steven Vargas, USA TODAY, 3 June 2021 Bowyer engaged the autopilot and turned his attention to some paperwork. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, 30 Apr. 2021 On Wednesday, the electric vehicle tycoon responded to another tweet featuring a video of automotive engineer Sandy Munro touting the safety of Tesla's autopilot function. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, 21 Apr. 2021 In December 2019 and January 2020, there were at least three separate crashes that killed three people and all involved the vehicles' autopilot driving technology. Jonathan Ponciano, Forbes, 18 Apr. 2021 Strasser sat behind the wheel, which was set to autopilot. oregonlive, 13 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'autopilot.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of autopilot

1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for autopilot

Time Traveler

The first known use of autopilot was in 1916

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Statistics for autopilot

Last Updated

19 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Autopilot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for autopilot



English Language Learners Definition of autopilot

: a device that steers a ship, aircraft, or spacecraft in place of a person

More from Merriam-Webster on autopilot Encyclopedia article about autopilot


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