This document contains a project definition, a set of functional requirements, and a functional design for the automation of flameless atomic absorption (AA) spectrophotometers. The system is a real-time data acquisition system with 'on line' data reduction, quality control and report generation. The system will automate single or double beam instruments, with or without background correction, and with or without automated sample changers. The data reduction mode of calculation will be method of standard calibrations. Sample tracking and laboratory data management are integral parts of the system due to direct communication links between the instrument processor and the SFC processor. Sample backlogs from the SFC processor are accessed by the instrument programs for run initialization. Finished data from the instrument program is approved and transferred to the SFC data base. Two related publications are 'The Standard Calibration Instrument Automation System for the Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer Part II - User's Guide' and 'The Standard Calibration Instrument Automation System for the Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer Part III - Program Documentation.'