Difference Between Autonomous and Independent

Autonomous and independent are often used to describe an entity that can operate alone. However, Autonomous and independent are two different words that are often confused with each other. These words are both derived from the Latin word; it is essential to know how to distinguish between the two.

Autonomous vs Independent

The main difference between autonomous and independent is how these words describe freedom. Although very similar, autonomous is defined as “Self-governing”; on the other hand, independent is a word that describes “Standing alone, not controlled by others.”

Autonomous and Independent

Autonomous means self-governing or independent. In other words, they can operate on their own without the influence of others. Another is that they have the ability to make their own decisions. And finally, autonomous things don’t need to be controlled, monitored, or overseen by others.

The term independent refers to the fact that the two words are independent of each other and do not affect each other. Independence is the state of being independent or being able to act according to your own will. You can also be called independent when you’re not under the control or authority of another person or government.

Comparison Table Between Autonomous and Independent

Parameters of ComparisonAutonomous Independent
MeaningAutonomous means anything that is self-governing.Being independent means, you can do whatever you want. It means not being bound by an external entity.
NatureAutonomous entities mean they exhibit true freedom. The word has a liberating nature.Independent, on the other hand, means not being dependent on any external entity.
GovernmentAn autonomous government means one that takes its own decision.Whereas an independent government is one that is not under the control of any higher power.
CarsAn autonomous car is one that can drive or park itself.An Independent car, on the other hand, is not affected by the working of any other cars.
Part of SpeechAutonomous is mainly used as an adjective in sentences.Independent is a word that can be used both as an adjective and a noun in sentences.

What is Autonomous?

Autonomous means having the ability to act by itself. Autonomous is defined as self-governing or self-directed. If you want complete autonomy, then you want the ability to make your own choices without controlling one.

Autonomous originates from Latin origins and translates to ‘self-rule.’ The term autonomous mostly refers to independent entities rather than being attached or connected to other entities. The term originated from the period of classical antiquity and was first used in 1621 by Thomas Browne in his book Pseudodoxia Epidemica.

 Many things tend to be autonomous in nature, but this comes with its own set of challenges. While it may seem like being autonomous is a good thing, it can be a troubling trait. Before you decide to be autonomous, the amount of responsibility on yourself increases.

Many things can be autonomous like- an autonomous machine is one that functions (or moves) independently of a control link, either through its own power or by being propelled along a track or other surface.

An autonomous vehicle is also referred to as an automatic vehicle, meaning that it can function by itself. Some government offices are autonomous. They don’t need to follow orders from the main government.

What is Independent?

The word ‘independent’ is derived from the Latin inde, which means “not dependent.” When used as an adjective, independence is defined as “being the condition of a person or thing that depends on no one else and is not subject to the control of another person or thing,” and “having or showing confidence in oneself.”

The word “independent” can have different meanings based on what content they are used in. One is that it is a synonym for “free.” Free from restrictions, rules, or boundaries. This is essentially the most common definition. It also means that one is not bound to a thing, a person, or a relationship. They’re not connected. They’re autonomous.

It also means that something doesn’t need any external help or assistance to work. It can be used to describe a person who is self-sufficient, who doesn’t rely on others for anything. This is how many people these days view themselves and how they want to be perceived by those around them.

For example, the term independent variable is a variable that does not change based on the value of the independent variable. The same is true for the term dependent variable. Similarly, an independent contractor is someone who is hired to work for another party and not an employer of that party.

Main Differences Between Autonomous and Independent

  1. Autonomous and independent both have to do with how something is controlled and is not about what it can do for itself. An autonomous car can drive itself without a driver. It can also find itself a parking spot. An independent car cannot do any of those things.
  2. In regards to robotics, autonomous robots are programmed to make decisions on their own. Independent robots are controlled by humans, but they can complete tasks on their own.
  3. The difference between Autonomous and Independent is that Autonomous is an adjective, and Independent is an adjective and a noun.
  4. Autonomy refers to freedom on a political level, whereas ‘independence’ refers to a state of being free from external constraints. Under this definition, a person can be autonomous but not independent.
  5. An additional distinction between the two is the level at which they are applied. Autonomy is applied to whole nations, whereas independence is applied to individuals.


Autonomous and independent are words that are often confused because they essentially want to convey the same message of being free ox external influence. But they are slightly different from one another. In order to understand the difference between Autonomous and Independent, one must first understand what each of these means individually.

Autonomous as a word is defined as an adjective that describes the ability to act or function independently of others. Independent is defined as an adjective that describes the ability to act or function independently of others. Both words can be used in various ways in different sentences.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/710883/
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4757-2851-4_2
  3. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KNA9CwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=independent&ots=7CTXFoC3k9&sig=IRDQGgtUCni3nHtKvUVLZCU3q3Q
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