Autonomous vs Independent: Difference and Comparison

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.


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These words are derived from the Latin word; it is essential to know how to distinguish between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Autonomous refers to an entity or system that operates or functions without external control or interference, often with a degree of self-governance.
  2. Independent describes an entity or individual not influenced, controlled, or supported by others, often implying self-reliance or freedom from outside factors.
  3. Both autonomous and independent suggest a lack of external control, but autonomous emphasizes self-governance and functionality, while independent focuses on freedom from influence or support.

Autonomous vs Independent

Autonomous refers to the ability of a system or entity to act independently and make decisions without external influence. Independence refers to the state of being free from external control, implying self-reliance and the ability to function without being influenced by external factors.

Autonomous vs 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

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 called an automatic vehicle, meaning 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 external help or assistance. It can be used to describe a self-sufficient person 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. Humans control Independent robots, 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.
Difference Between Autonomous and Independent

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