CONSUMER ADVISORY: NHTSA Deems ‘Autopilot Buddy’ Product Unsafe, Bans Sale in U.S.

The product's primary function is to disable a safety feature in Tesla vehicles that monitors the driver's hands on the steering wheel

CONSUMER ADVISORY: NHTSA Deems ‘Autopilot Buddy’ Product Unsafe, Bans Sale in U.S.
Image: Tesla
June 19, 2018

An aftermarket product designed to let Tesla drivers by-pass a key safety feature has been banned from sale in the Unites States.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) delivered a cease and desist letter to Dolder, Falco and Reese Partners LLC, a company selling a product called the Autopilot Buddy.

'Autopilot Nag Reduction Device'

Marketed as a 'Tesla autopilot nag reduction device,' the Autopilot Buddy's 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 on the wheel.

Aftermarket motor vehicle equipment and devices like the Autopilot Buddy are federally regulated by NHTSA.

All U.S. Marketing, Sales, and Distribution Must End

The cease and desist 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.

"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."

Report Suspected Safety Issues

Consumers are encouraged to report suspected safety issues affecting vehicles or vehicle equipment to NHTSA's vehicle hotline at (888) 327-4236, or on the agency's website.