Musk's nemesis funds Super Bowl ad slating Tesla amid ongoing saga

The Tesla ad Elon didn’t want you to see! Musk’s nemesis funds Super Bowl ad showing the car running over a child’s mannequin, ramming prams on the street and driving past a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign

  • The Dawn Project Dan O’Dowd aired another ad criticizing Tesla’s technology
  • In 2022, Tesla sent a cease-and-desist letter over debunked claims from O’Dowd

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Dan O’Dowd took yesterday’s Super Bowl as an opportunity to push his controversial campaign against rival Elon Musk’s Tesla.

The ‘Dawn Project’ founder, who unsuccessfully ran for election to the U.S. Senate to represent California last year, has spent millions trying to discredit Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology, which gives the cars partial autonomy.

During yesterday’s Super Bowl commercials, O’Dowd funded a 30-second clip appearing to show defects in Tesla’s software as a narrator claims the car will ‘run down a child in a school crosswalk, swerve into oncoming traffic, hit a baby in a stroller, [and] go straight past stopped school buses.’

The ad, broadcast in Washington, DC, Austin, Tallahassee, Albany, Atlanta and Sacramento reportedly cost $598,000, A Dawn Project spokesperson told CNN.

A still from the published advert shows a Tesla car from the outside running over a mannequin

Dan O’Dowd, pictured, is a billionaire entrepreneur, like Tesla’s Elon Musk

On 11 February, O’Dowd shared the Super Bowl video on his Twitter account, which received in excess of seven million views.

But viewers soon responded with reader added comments, a new feature to the social networking platform added by Musk.

The footnote correctly noted that O’Dowd owns Green Hills Software, a company producing automated driving systems to rival Tesla’s.

Twitter users also referred to a previous smear campaign against Tesla’s FSD software which was debunked. 

EV News Channel Whole Mars found the FSD’S Beta does stop for children.

The shot of the car hitting the mannequin is only shot from the outside, which has raises suspicions the FSD was not engaged.

In August last year, the Dan O’Dowd Media account on YouTube published an advert claiming to have ‘conclusively demonstrated’ that Tesla’s FSD did not avoid or slow down for a child mannequin in plain view.

Critics later showed the Full Self Driving mode was not engaged, as The Dawn Project had stated on its website.   

Tesla then sent a cease and desist letter to The Dawn Project over the advert which claimed the FSD would ‘mow down children’.

Tesla claimed the footage was defamatory and misrepresented the capabilities of its advanced driver-assist system.

O’Dowd responded on Twitter: ‘Master Scammer Musk threatens to sue me over a tv ad.

‘Turns out Mr Free Speech Absolutist is just another crybaby hiding behind his lawyer’s skirt.’

A still from the advert, showing the car apparently running a stop sign attached to a school bus

The car’s full self driving system again appears to ignore stop signs and road closed signs 

Elon Musk pictured arriving at the Super Bowl with his son

As of January 2023, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had investigated a total of 35 crashes, resulting in 19 deaths, in which Tesla’s FSD was likely in use. 

Tesla’s Models S, 3, X and Y listed among the lowest overall probability of injury of all vehicles tested by the government’s NCAP safety program.

Manufacturers have criticized the ‘Full Self Driving’ term as misleading.

Tesla has itself noted that while the FSD can perform some automated driving tasks, drivers must remain alert in case of malfunction or events the system cannot yet handle.

The company has been sued for falsely marketing the capabilities of its automated systems.

No vehicle on sale today is entirely self-driving or autonomous.

Tesla drivers have nonetheless been caught sleeping behind the wheel while driving on major highways. 

Tesla’s system has received much attention as the company was the first to the market for an autopilot mode, launched in 2014. 

The company is now preparing to launch its new Autopilot hardware 4.0 upgrade, according to a filing with European regulators. 

Tesla stopped responding to press enquiries in 2020 and could not be reached for comment.

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