Of all robots, BEAM robots are the most clearly associated with automata -- in my mind, at least -- because they are fully autonomous. They don't even require batteries. Robots like the Cybug Solarfly will seek out bright areas to recharge, and avoid obstacles on its own. There is no program controlling it; its behavior is either a function of its physical structure or hard-wired electrical responses.
You can see a few of the autonomous solar robots
I made a few years ago, before I discovered contemporary automata.
The Cybug Solarfly and other BEAM robots are available at Edmund Scientifics
Labels: automata, automaton, electronics