auto_ptr was about the only smart pointer in the standard library (Until boost shared_ptr was added to TR1) and has been used in commercial apps for years. Obviously, it’s not designed for STL. Well, competent programmers won’t use auto_ptr in STL, so it’s basically robust and battle tested.
People say auto_ptr can lead to bugs in the hands of a novice, but what c++ features can’t?
The essential features of auto_ptr are very much relevant even if you use an alternative smart ptr. Numerous wall street interviews still reference auto_ptr.
In MTS, I simply replaced every “auto_ptr” in source code with “unique_ptr”, because auto_ptr has been deprecated in c++11.