There has been increasing interest in integrated microfluidic systems because performing biological and chemical laboratory tasks on a single chip is appealing. One straightforward approach to constructing these lab on chips is to fabricate individual components and to assemble them for desired functionalities. As the functionalities of the microfluidic systems become increasingly complicated, more functional components and relevant controls need to be integrated on a miniaturized chip, especially when a closed loop is needed for autonomous functionality. Instead, an emerging approach is to incorporate stimuli-responsive hydrogels directly into microfluidics to reduce the system complexity. Due to the hydrogels' ability of transducing stimuli into mechanical actions in response to their surrounding aqueous environment, hydrogel-based microfluidic elements can act as both sensors and actuators simultaneously, alleviating the requirement of most controls and even power sources. This provides microfluidic systems with autonomous functionalities. In this article, we will focus on a few autonomous microfluidic devices including valves, flow sorters, pH regulators, pumps, mixers, drug-delivery devices, fluidic cooling devices, and liquid microlenses.