au·​to·​pi·​lot ˈȯ-tō-ˌpī-lət How to pronounce autopilot (audio)
: 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 The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office tells PEOPLE that its investigation found no indication that the autopilot feature directly led to the crash but noted that the car had been on autopilot. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 13 Dec. 2023 In December, Tesla agreed to recall about 2 million cars over a safety issue tied to its autopilot system, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. Max Zahn, ABC News, 25 Jan. 2024 Below, pilots from both commercial and private airlines answer some of the most common questions about flying a plane—from how much of the plane is really flown in autopilot to whether there really is a secret pilot menu and top advice for nervous flyers. Olivia Morelli, Condé Nast Traveler, 4 Dec. 2023 Other researchers note that sludge content can provide environments that are ideal for normative dissociation, or putting a brain on autopilot mode. Anna Mattson, Scientific American, 10 Jan. 2024 Tougher federal spending caps are needed, but sadly any new restraints would probably be undermined by the twin fiscal evils of Keynesianism and autopilot entitlements. Chris Edwards, National Review, 18 Dec. 2023 Our future will be characterized by a tension between copilot (AI as collaborator) and autopilot (humans as sidekick to AI). Steven Levy, WIRED, 8 Dec. 2023 Getty Images How much of a flight is led by autopilot? Olivia Morelli, Condé Nast Traveler, 4 Dec. 2023 Tesla recalling more than 2 million vehicles to fix a safety issue with its autopilot feature 02:28 To address that problem, Tesla sent drivers a software update that installs alerts designed to better ensure that drivers are fully aware and paying attention even when Autopilot is engaged. Alain Sherter, CBS News, 22 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'autopilot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


auto- + pilot entry 1, as shortening of automatic pilot

First Known Use

1916, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of autopilot was in 1916

Dictionary Entries Near autopilot

Cite this Entry

“Autopilot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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