Automatons are possibly the most useful things to have in Frostpunk. They can man some of your machines and buildings 24 hours straight, constantly working away to provide resources.
One of the best ways of getting a head-start in Frostpunk, whether it be during ‘A New Home’ or ‘The Arks’. Automatons are especially important in The Arks, as you are expected to have your entire city powered with them.
A New Home automaton
You will discover your first automaton at The Steel Bridge, during an expedition. Start by sending your scout team from the City, to the Lost Expedition, then to the Sturdy Shelter and finally to the Steel Bridge.
Upon reaching the Steel Bridge, you will find an automaton which you can either send back to the city or dismantle it for Steam Cores. Make sure to send it back to the city, as it will come in handy later!
The automaton will take over a day to reach the city, but once it does, you can assign it to collect resources for you. They can be set to either search gathering piles, or work on machinery such as war drills, coal mines and steel works.
Later on, more Automatons can be crafted inside a factory (which needs to be researched). Each one will cost 1 steam core, wood and steel. The amounts depend on what path you have gone down in the research tree.
The Ark Automaton
Just like the New Home scenario, you can get your first automaton for The Arks by going out on an expedition. Make sure to set up the workshop as fast as possible, and then research the Beacon found under the exploration tree.
Once ready, set up an expedition team and prepare to head out. The first location to visit is ‘Broken Automaton’. You can head there pretty much instantly, and send it back to your city.
After getting this automaton, you will need to build more inside of a factory. To unlock the factory, you will need to find the Factory Plans, which can be found at the ‘Lost Dreadnought’.