Dan O'Dowd, a California software entrepreneur who is a staunch critic of Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) software, has placed an ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday calling on regulators to shut down the driver-assist feature.
The founder and CEO of Green Hills Software, a supplier to Mobileye, which develops autonomous driving and driver-assist systems, claims Tesla's programme of allowing vehicle owners to drive with a beta version of the FSD tech "is a major threat to public safety."
In a press release on O'Dowd's group, The Dawn Project, the organisation says the ad, which you can watch in the video embedded above, highlights the findings of safety tests conducted by The Dawn Project which uncovered "critical safety defects" in Tesla's Full Self-Driving.
The Dawn Project's Super Bowl ad shows video clips of Tesla vehicles making errors such as running over a mannequin meant to represent a child crossing the street, hitting a child in a stroller, failing to stop for a school bus with flashing lights, entering a closed street, swerve into oncoming traffic, and more.
The Super Bowl ad is the latest in a multi-million dollar advertising campaign The Dawn Project has conducted since early 2022. According to the press release, the ad has reached millions of viewers, politicians and regulators in Washington D.C, and state capitals including California, New York, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
Dan O'Dowd, who describes himself as a self-made billionaire, says he won't stop here. "The Super Bowl ad will be followed by a series of television and print ads calling for urgent action over the deployment of Tesla's dangerous Full Self-Driving software on public roads," reads The Dawn Project's press release.
The organisation is urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to "immediately turn off Tesla's Full Self-Driving software until all of the critical safety defects we and others have identified are fixed."
The Super Bowl ad is not O'Dowd's first shot at Tesla's FSD software. In January 2022, The Dawn Project placed an ad in The New York Times warning against the dangers posed by Tesla's Full Self-Driving software.
Then in April 2022, O'Dowd again attacked Tesla in an ad campaign that included videos posted by users of FSD Beta-equipped Teslas showing various driving errors.
Last summer, the campaign launched a new ad including footage of an in-house test showing a Tesla Model 3 on FSD Beta hitting a child dummy. The methodology of the test was challenged online by Tesla FSD users who proved that FSD wasn't even engaged in some of the footage used to produce the video.
Tesla later sent a cease-and-desist letter to The Dawn Project over the campaign, calling the anti-FSD ads "misinformation." CEO Elon Musk called O'Dowd "crazy" last year on Twitter and described Green Hills' software as "a pile of trash."
Dan O'Dowd ran for a California US Senate seat last year almost exclusively on the issue of banning Tesla's FSD test programme, but he didn't get elected.