NHTSA Issues Cease and Desist on Autopilot Buddy
June 20, 2018—The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a cease and desist letter to the company selling a product called the Autopilot Buddy.
Marketed as a "Tesla autopilot nag reduction device," its primary function is to disable a safety feature in Tesla vehicles that monitors the driver’s hands on the steering wheel and warns the driver when hands are not detected. Aftermarket devices, such as Autopilot Buddy, are motor vehicle equipment regulated by NHTSA
“A product intended to circumvent motor vehicle safety and driver attentiveness is unacceptable,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King. “By preventing the safety system from warning the driver to return their hands to the wheel, this product disables an important safeguard, and could put customers and other road users at risk.”
The letter directs the company to respond by June 29, 2018, and to certify to NHTSA that all U.S. marketing, sales, and distribution of the Autopilot Buddy has ended.