Automation is the use of control systems (such as numerical control, programmable logic control, and other industrial control systems), in concert with other applications of information technology (such as computer-aided technologies [CAD, CAM, CAx]), to control industrial machinery and processes, reducing the need for human intervention.
In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization. Whereas mechanization provided human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work, automation greatly reduces the need for human sensory and mental requirements as well. Processes and systems can also be automated.
Automation plays an increasingly important role in the world economy and in daily experience. Engineers strive to combine automated devices with mathematical and organizational tools to create complex systems for a rapidly expanding range of applications and human activities.