A guidance system is a device or group of devices used to navigate a ship, aircraft, missile, rocket, satellite, or other craft. Typically, this refers to a system that navigates without direct or continuous human control. Systems that are intended to have a high degree of human interaction are usually referred to as a navigation system.

One of the earliest examples of a true guidance system is that used in the German V-1 during World War II. This system consisted of a simple gyroscope to maintain heading, an airspeed sensor to estimate flight time, an altimeter to maintain altitude, and other redundant systems.

A guidance system has three major sub-sections: Inputs, Processing, and Outputs. The input section includes sensors, course data, radio and satellite links, and other information sources. The processing section, composed of one or more CPUs, integrates this data and determines what actions, if any, are necessary to maintain or achieve a proper heading. This is then fed to the outputs which can directly affect the system's course. The outputs may control speed by interacting with devices such as turbines, and fuel pumps, or they may more directly alter course by actuating ailerons, rudders, or other devices.

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