Finite automata are considered in this paper as instruments for classifying finite tapes. Each one-tape automaton defines a set of tapes, a two-tape automaton defines a set of pairs of tapes, et cetera. The structure of the defined sets is studied. Various generalizations of the notion of an automaton are introduced and their relation to the classical automata is determined. Some decision problems concerning automata are shown to be solvable by effective algorithms; others turn out to be unsolvable by algorithms.