This theory defines deterministic and nondeterministic automata in a functional representation: the transition function/relation and the finality predicate are just functions. Hence the state space may be infinite. It is shown how to convert regular expressions into such automata. A scanner (generator) is implemented with the help of functional automata: the scanner chops the input up into longest recognized substrings. Finally we also show how to convert a certain subclass of functional automata (essentially the finite deterministic ones) into regular sets.