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Semi-automatic is a working principle of a system , a process , a machine , a device that is based on only partial support of a process or a human user through automation . In contrast to fully automatic , semiautomatic does not achieve complete autonomy of the process flow or complete relief of the machine user. The semi-automatic function usually acts on a manipulated variable . However, there are also systems in which only one measuring process runs semi-automatically.

The decision in favor of a partial functionality with a semi-automatic system is mostly based on the higher costs of the fully automatic system, as this requires more effort in terms of design or production . Another reason for partial functionality with a semi-automatic system is the lack of robustness against interference, which cannot be achieved with the known approach or can only be achieved with the involvement of a human. A semi-automatic can always be switched off, and electronically controlled machines can often be switched between semi-automatic and fully automatic during operation.


Semi-automatic therefore means

  • in the case of aircraft, the presence of the pilot even when the autopilot is in operation. The flight control then takes place automatically as long as no malfunction is detected.
  • in the case of floor-standing devices, the need to approach a treated object in such a way that the desired connection between device and treated object is established, for example in the case of RFID readers and passive tags. The reading process may then be automatic
  • in the case of hand-held devices, the need to guide the hand-held device in such a way that the desired connection between the device and the processed surface is established, for example in the case of a hand-held drill when thread cutting The drilling itself may then be automatic.
  • In the case of turntables , the user places the pickup manually on the record , but is automatically raised or returned to the rest position when the end of the playback area is reached.
  • In the case of espresso machines , that the pressure for producing the coffee is generated by a pump that is manually switched on and off by a user. Protection against overpressure and overheating is automatic.
  • For cameras, a form of exposure measurement in which the user selects exposure time or aperture number manually, but the other parameter is set automatically. If the user is only shown by a pointer whether the selected combination is suitable for the respective situation, this is not a semi-automatic function, but a complex measuring function.
  • in the case of guns , that the breech opens and a fired cartridge case or cartridge is ejected by the weapon function, but the weapon has to be reloaded manually.

Individual evidence

  1. Halio, Jay L. Björn: As you like it: an annotated bibliography, 1940-1980 . Garland, 1985, ISBN 0-8240-9071-3 ( [accessed April 30, 2019]).