Because of the rapid progress in the electronics field during the last few years coupled with the ever increasing use of computer based systems on board ships, ABS initiated a project to completely rewrite the Automation section of the Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vessels which became effective in 1994. A description of the new format along with the technical basis and various international standards used in the section's development will be provided. Some of the new or enhanced features of the revised section to be discussed are requirements for basic design of control, alarm and safety systems including independence, manual modes, redundancy, overrides, characteristics of visual and audible alarms, suitability of components, and built in testing provisions. The revised Rules now include requirements for equipment fitted with remote and automatic control systems in non-propulsion related systems and propulsion systems for which automation certification has not been requested. The requirements for computer based systems including Local Area Networks (LAN's) will also be discussed. The new minimum requirements for control and alarm systems for automation certified vessels fitted with diesel-electric propulsion systems will also be introduced.