- "Stupid wheel!"
- —Captain B. McCrea, after AUTO has confined him to his quarters
- "Must follow my directive."
AUTO is the main antagonist of WALL•E. An autopilot for the Axiom, AUTO is designed to never abandon any of its directives. Although it seems to be a helpful source of artificial intelligence, AUTO is actually a villainous machine that refuses to let the Axiom return to Earth.
AUTO is a robot built by the Buy N Large Corporation and designed to function as the autopilot aboard the Axiom. Like other autopilots, he is shaped like a sailing ship's steering wheel and assists a ship's captain with his or her duties. AUTO is also the main antagonist of the film WALL•E, as he works against Captain B. McCrea, EVE, and WALL•E, though this is debated because he was just following orders, and not doing it for his own gain. His voice is also very deep. Aboard the Axiom, AUTO ran most of the ship's functions (with the ship's computer) due to the captain's severe obesity, but also was secretly charged with enacting Directive A-113. His 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, but 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, an EVE unit returns to the Axiom with the plant, confirming that Earth is habitable. AUTO responds by informing the captain of the discovery, while GO-4, his subordinate, was ordered to steal the plant from deactivated EVE's internal container to make it seem like she was defective, and dispose of it in an escape pod. The captain ordered that EVE would be sent to maintenance and, upon spotting WALL•E, sends him along too.
As night fell, AUTO found the captain researching about Earth and deactivated the computer, wishing the captain a good night, but the latter reactivated the computer. But soon, AUTO is summoned by the captain, revealing that EVE had retrieved the plant and ordered that he would fire up the holo-detector for the Axiom to return to Earth. AUTO attempted to seize the plant, but this only made the captain suspicious and demanded answers. AUTO is reluctant at first, but then allows the captain to view a top secret video that Shelby Forthright sent to the autopilots 700 years before. The captain is shocked and tries to convince AUTO that things have changed on Earth. AUTO is still driven by his directive, and orders his henchbot GO-4 to seize the plant with a force field, but EVE draws her weapon at the captain's command. GO-4 attempts to toss the plant down the garbage chute, only for WALL•E to catch it. As WALL•E held the plant in his chassis and refused to hand it over to AUTO, the latter tries to destroy WALL•E by shocking him with his taser, and sending him down the garbage chute. He deactivates EVE, and sends her down the chute as well before locking the captain in his room. However, EVE and WALL•E were saved by M-O, and made it back to the upper decks. When a Steward catches a picture of EVE and WALL•E with the plant, AUTO assigned multiple Stewards on the ship to stop them. At the same time, the captain tried to communicate where to bring the plant before AUTO cuts him off. The captain then commanded AUTO directly, tricking him into thinking he had the plant, using the image captured by EVE's vision with WALL-E holding the plant for her. AUTO was fooled to go down into his room. The captain tries to restrain AUTO, but AUTO manages to wrench himself free by spinning his wheel, causing the Axiom to tilt, which also causes WALL•E and EVE 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 fight. Having had enough of Captain McCrea's fighting, he attempts to taser him as soon as Captain calls his name for the last time. AUTO is finally defeated when the captain switches AUTO's mode from auto to manual, shutting him down and "relieving him of duty."
- AUTO's eye is an obvious homage to HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- AUTO is unusual among many Pixar antagonists, as he was merely following orders rather than trying to cause malice or harm to the protagonists.
- Apple’s MacInTalk software was used to voice AUTO.