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Industry News: NHTSA Issues A Cease and Desist To the Autopilot Buddy

William Maley

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Dolder, Falco and Reese Partners LLC, the company behind an aftermarket device called the Autopilot Buddy.

Autopilot Buddy is a small, weighted device that clips onto either side of the wheel to place minor amounts of torque. This fools the Autopilot system into thinking that a driver has their hands on the wheel. The company markets the device as "nag reduction device", reducing the amount of warnings to tell driver to keep their hands on the wheel.

The company has a disclaimer on Autopilot Buddy that states,


Note: Autopilot Buddy is for Track Use Only. This is not marketed for "street use".  "Autopilot Buddy" is installed you the driver assumes responsibility for the car.*  

This would be ok if a video demonstrating the product didn't appear to be on a public road of sorts. 

“A product intended to circumvent motor vehicle safety and driver attentiveness is unacceptable. 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,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King in a statement.

NHTSA has given Dolder, Falco and Reese Partners LLC till June 29th to respond and certify to NHTSA "that all U.S. marketing, sales, and distribution of the Autopilot Buddy has ended."

Source: Roadshow, NHTSA

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