自動詞 is an intransitive verb and 他動詞 is a transitive verb, but they are not exactly the same as English intransitive verbs and transitives verb .
自動詞 does not require an object. But 他動詞 requires an object which is preceded by a particle を, and it expresses an action upon the object. On the other hand, when we use 自動詞, which is usually preceded by a particle
が, there is no concern over who or what takes the action.
That is, the difference between the usage of the two types of verbs depends on whether there is someone "doing an action" (他動詞, which literally means "someone else verb") or not (自動詞, which literally means "self verb")
私はドアを開ける (I open the door.) --> 他動詞
ドアが開く (The door opens) --> 自動詞
私は電気を消す (I turn off the light.) --> 他動詞
電気が消える (The light is turned off.) --> 自動詞