Even if you don't really follow Tesla, at this point, it's highly likely you've heard about Dan O'Dowd and his campaign against the automaker's Full Self-Driving beta technology. O'Dowd runs a software company that competes with Tesla, and he aims to prove that the FSD technology will kill children.
O'Dowd started with a run for Senate, and his only real mission was to go to bat against Elon Musk and Tesla. He launched an ad in the New York Times, and he regularly takes to social media to talk about his concerns with Tesla's advanced driver-assist systems. However, the most talked-about part of O'Dowd's campaign is a video ad he made that shows Tesla's vehicles bowling over child-sized mannequins. O'Dowd goes so far as to say the FSD technology "will indiscriminately mow down children.”
Of course, when Tesla FSD beta testers saw the video, they immediately claimed it wasn't legitimate. There has been talk about O'Dowd manipulating the footage, having the FSD beta features turned off, etc. Even Tesla has come forward to ask O'Dowd to take the video down, and he has refused. While we have no way of knowing whether or not the video ad is legitimate, we have watched several of the FSD beta testers' videos that are pushing back against O'Dowd's claims.
One such video was already taken down by YouTube since it used real children in the tests. However, there are many more that are worth watching. With all of that said, we're including O'Dowd's ad below so that you can compare it to the parody video at the top of the page. This way, you can draw your own conclusions.
According to Teslarati, the Tesla Model 3 owner and official Tesla FSD beta tester who made the video at the top of the page has been using the technology since October 2021, and he's still alive to make videos about it. His name is Jon Herrity, he's an automation engineer, and he noted on Twitter that he tested the system over three days in multiple circumstances with three different mannequins.
Needless to say, Herrity's video is certainly fun and funny, but it does work to prove O'Dowd wrong. While O'Dowd's ad is just 33 seconds of assorted clips, Herrity provides nearly 10 minutes of footage that's very similar in some ways, though it couldn't be more different in others. It basically shows that FSD is extremely observant of humans to the point of being ridiculously cautious, and the car does everything it can to avoid obstacles.