The controversial Autopilot Buddy product, made for Tesla vehicles that feature the semi self-driving technology, has been ordered to be pulled off the market. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a cease and desist for the product's maker on Tuesday and called it a danger to other motorists, the The Detroit News reported.
Autopilot Buddy is a weight that attaches to one side of the steering wheel. The weight mimics a driver's hands on the wheel, which reduces the frequency of safety alerts when the driver does not place his or her hands on the wheel. In a statement, the NHTSA said, "A product intended to circumvent motor vehicle safety and driver attentiveness is unacceptable."
At the time of the cease and desist, the manufacturer of Autopilot Buddy, Dolder, Falco and Reese, was in the process of engineering a similar product for the Tesla Model 3. The current products fit the Model S and Model X electric cars.
Tesla issued its own statement after the NHTSA's actions and commended the move. "We support NHTSA's action regarding this product," the electric-car maker said.
The company's website still lists the product for sale internationally, but it is "not taking orders inside the U.S.A. at this time." Additionally, the site includes a disclaimer saying Autopilot Buddy "is designed for closed-track use, not for use on public streets. ... Warning: The Autopilot Buddy is not a safety device. Using this device irresponsibly may cause injury or death."
Autopilot has come under fire in recent months after a Tesla Model X crashed into a damaged highway barrier in California with the system engaged. A preliminary report also showed the Autopilot system sped the electric car up before the wreck. The crash killed Walter Huang, the driver.
The NHTSA said the company must halt marketing, sales, and distribution of the device by June 29 in the U.S.