California Billionaire Uses Super Bowl to Attack Tesla for ‘Endangering the Public’ – Tesla Says His Claims Are ‘Defamatory’

It’s the Super Bowl commercial you may not have seen, one that attacks Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” mode as a menace to the American public. The commercial, funded by California billionaire Dan O’Dowds The Dawn Project, ran in only a few markets during Sunday’s Super Bowl, so if you missed it, that could be why. But critics are already questioning the accuracy of the claims made in the spot. “Tesla Full Self-Driving will run down a child in a school crosswalk, swerve into oncoming traffic, hit a baby in a stroller, go straight past stopped school buses, ignore do-not-enter signs and even drive on the wrong side of the road,” the ad claims while showing video of Teslas doing just those things (using mannequins and empty strollers, of course) “Tesla’s Full Self-Driving is endangering the public with deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineering,” it continues. “Ninety percent agree that this should be banned immediately. “Why does NHTSA allow Tesla Full Self-Driving?” it finally asks, referring to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“The Dawn Project’s ad will be broadcast during the game to millions of viewers, politicians and regulators in Washington D.C, and state capitals including California, New York, Texas, Florida and Georgia,” according to a Feb. 11 post on the organization’s website. [firefly_poll] According to The Washington Post, O’Dowd has “already poured millions of his own money” into efforts to get Tesla’s self-driving technology banned from American roads — an effort that appears to have generated no results other than a cease-and-desist letter from Tesla last year. Almost immediately following the release of this new ad, however, it drew criticism from Tesla supporters who said the “testing” shown in the video was fraudulent. Comments on the video posted to The Dawn Project’s YouTube channel — where it has been viewed nearly 670,000 times despite the fact that The Dawn Project has a mere 483 subscribers to its channel — were turned off, but critics found opportunity on Twitter and elsewhere to respond anyway. For his part, O’Dowd responded to the above tweet but doesn’t appear to have noticed that it was critical of his efforts and methods. O’Dowd says regulators are not acting with sufficient “urgency,” despite the fact that the federal government has opened “multiple investigations” into the self-driving vehicles. “Tesla Autopilot, the driver-assistance suite that encompasses Full Self-Driving Beta, is facing multiple investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” The Post reported. “The investigations relate to more than a dozen crashes with parked emergency vehicles while Autopilot was activated, and Tesla vehicles’ tendency to suddenly brake for imaginary hazards, a phenomenon known as ‘phantom braking.'” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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