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A wide range of applications are being researched and developed within the Smart Grid community, such as voltage control, thermal constraint management, dynamic line ratings and automated reconfiguration. Typically, the current approach is to develop piecemeal automation applied to small sections of legacy networks under current market, commercial and regulatory regimes. The challenges of future energy networks are the anticipated uncertainty and complexity within them. This includes uncertainty in the equipment, configurations and control functionality required married with uncertainty in the participation of consumers through demand side technologies and the uptake of electric vehicles and microgeneration technologies; while complexity is engendered in managing the vast number of interactions within such a system. The authors are developing the concept of the Autonomic Power System which provides flexible and adaptable control through fully distributed intelligence and control. Fundamental research in intelligent systems and network control will deliver a truly integrated self-controlling, self-optimising, self-healing and self-protecting electricity network. This paper outlines the vision, architecture and initial control techniques which will deliver the Autonomic Power System.