NHTSA Tells Telsa Autopilot Buddy to Stop Selling Steering Wheel Hack Device

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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.

Autopilot Buddy is a  two-piece weighted clamp with magnets that wraps around a steering wheel spoke which is  detected by the car’s sensors as being human hands.

The Autopilot Buddy website claims that the device is for track use only.

“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.

The company states on its website

” By purchasing you agree to hold Dolder, Falco and Reese Partners LLC, its member, employees, officers, partners and their heirs harmless from any accidents or incidences with this device.

 Warning: The Autopilot Budy is not a safety device.  Using this device irresponsibly may cause injury or death.  This device is designed for closed track use, not for use on public streets.

We are unaware of any legislation preventing this device. However, legislation for semiautonomous is changing rapidly. This device may not be legal in all states. Check your local laws before using. “|