NHTSA Issues Cease and Desist Letter to Maker of Autopilot Buddy
UNITED STATES – October 16, 2018 (nhtsa.gov) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the U.S. Department of Transportation, recently issued a cease and desist letter to the maker of a product called Autopilot Buddy. Details about the letter are reported at nhtsa.gov.*
Autopilot Buddy is a device marketed by the manufacturer as providing “Tesla autopilot nag reduction.” The device is designed to disable safety alerts and warnings built into Tesla vehicles in conjunction with the Tesla Autopilot semi-autonomous driving feature. The warnings and alerts engage when a driver using Autopilot has not touched the steering wheel for several seconds, reminding the driver to pay attention to the road. Autopilot Buddy allows Tesla drivers to maintain hands off the steering wheel in Autopilot mode without receiving warnings and alerts.
“A product intended to circumvent motor vehicle safety and driver attentiveness is unacceptable,” said Heidi King, deputy administrator of NHSTA. “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.”
NHTSA regulates all aftermarket motor vehicle equipment, like the Autopilot Buddy. The Administration’s letter to the Autopilot Buddy manufacturer directs the company to respond by a certain date and to certify to NHSTA that all marketing, sale, and distribution of the Autopilot Buddy has ended in the United States.
NHTSA encourages members of the public to report suspected safety issues affecting vehicles or vehicle equipment in the United States by calling the Administration’s hotline at (888) 327-4236 or by submitting information online to nhtsa.gov.
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