- "Stupid wheel!"
- —Captain B mc.crea after AUTO has confined him to his quarters
- "I must follow my directive."
The Auto units are robots built by the B n' L Corporation and designed to function as the autopilot aboard the starliner spacecraft. Shaped like a sailing ship's steering wheel, Auto units assist the ship's captain with his or her duties. He is the main antagonist of the film WALL-E as he works against the Captain, EVE, and WALL-E though this is debated because he was just following orders, and not doing it for his own gain.
The AUTO unit aboard the Axiom ran most of the ship's functions due to the Captain's severe obesity, but also was secretly charged with enacting Directive A-113
The AUTO unit's central red eye is a direct reference to the HAL 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not only do Auto and HAL both share the central red eye, they also both share a secret directive which they attempt to carry out, regardless of the effects of the secret directive towards humans.
AUTO has the secret order (Directive A-113) to never return to Earth, however WALL•E stops its plans and brings the plant on board. Auto gets angry and tries to destroy WALL•E by shocking him with his taser and sending him down a garbage chute. He deactivates EVE and sends her down the chute as well. However, M-O's timely arrival saves both EVE and WALL•E from being jettisoned into space, and they rush over to place the plant into the holo-detector. The captain tries to restrain AUTO, but AUTO manages to wrench himself free by spinning its wheel, causing the Axiom to tilt, which also causes WALL•E to miss the holo-detector. AUTO then activates a button that closes the holo-detector, crushing WALL•E, who is struggling to jam it from closing. The captain manages to reach AUTO and engage him in another struggle. AUTO is finally defeated when the captain switches AUTO's mode from auto to manual, shutting him down and "relieving him of duty".
- AUTO is an obvious homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- AUTO is unusual as his goal doesn't come from malice. It's just that unlike Robots like WALL-E and EVE AUTO is unable to ignore his programmed directive.