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An autopilot is also known as "automatic control" and is an automatic control system in an aircraft or watercraft, such as a boat, yacht or ship. The autopilot not only facilitates automatic control in aeroplanes and water vessels but also in unmanned aircrafts, missiles and satellites.

An autopilot makes navigating on long journeys much easier


An autopilot is a computer-controlled measuring and control system for stabilisation and scheduled navigation. Autopilots on watercrafts take over the control of a fixed course, according to a predetermined route (Waypoint List) or according to the wind (wind-vane steering) on sailing boats and sailing yachts. An autopilot is integrated into a comprehensive electronic navigation system (ECDIS) on larger vessels.

You can find more Boat Equipment in the boatoon.com online shop under the categories Air Conditioning Systems, Multi-tools and Sails. Or have a further look at the Electronics under the categories GPS, Fishfinder and Radar.

The autopilot calculates the necessary course correction from a number of different data sources. The autopilot measures the pilot-controlled route and compares it with the predetermined course over ground. By comparing the difference between the two, the autopilot forms a control signal which operates the steering system either mechanically or hydraulically.


A modern autopilot determines the yacht's course with a gyrocompass and/or a GPS. These autopilots also make allowances for the roll that emerges from forced waves, gusts of wind or currents. Simply enter the route into the autopilot with the use of a Waypoint List or through a click of the mouse on the sea chart and the autopilot will automatically set sail on the desired course. On reaching a Waypoint the autopilot automatically continues on to the next Waypoint.


On larger vessels, theautopilot is an integrated component of a comprehensive electronic navigation system (ECDIS), which also includes sonar, radar, AIS, electronic charts and much more.