Not probably, they DID have their AIS transmission disabled.
Autopilot doesn’t work like that, it doesn’t automatically avoid ships or land. The autopilot doesn’t “see” anything, all it does is maintain a given heading.
The AIS transmission being off wouldn’t effect radar or lookout detection. It has been discussed here that if they were running dark with just navigation lights on it might have been hard to see them against the lights from shore. It should have still been visible on radar.
I have seen a very laid it theory along these lines (I forget exactly who the third ship was), basically the idea that Fitzgerald was avoiding one vessel without regard to the added danger from the Crystal.
Possible? Yes. Likely? No.
It took them less than 30 minutes to come about. They would have had to sound the general alarm, wake the crew at 0130, perform damage assessments to make sure they weren’t taking on water, then have the engineers prep the heavy fuel engine for maneuvering. I don’t believe it’s reasonable to expect that to be done any faster than they did.