National Highway Traffic Safety Administration orders company to stop selling ‘Autopilot Buddy’

WASHINGTON (WHDH) - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a cease and desist letter to a company selling a product called the Autopilot Buddy, a device that disables the safety feature in Tesla vehicles that monitors the driver’s hands on the steering wheel.

The letter, announced in a press release Tuesday, directs the company to respond by June 29 and to certify to the NHTSA that all U.S. marketing, sales, and distribution of the Autopilot Buddy have ended. The Autopilot Buddy has been marketed as a “Tesla autopilot nag reduction device,” according to the announcement.

“A product intended to circumvent motor vehicle safety and driver attentiveness is unacceptable,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King said in a statement. “By preventing the safety system from warning the driver to return hands to the wheel, this product disables an important safeguard, and could put customers and other road users at risk.”

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