Software millionaire buys Super Bowl ad to trash Tesla’s self-driving tech

Alexi Falson

Fans tuning into the Super Bowl earlier this week were witness to one of the most scathing critiques of Tesla’s full self-driving (FSD) technology we’ve seen to date, with tech guru Dan O’Dowd labelling the tech as “woefully inept engineering”.

For those wondering, the man responsible for the commercial, Dan O’Dowd, made a fortune selling software to the American military, and has since purchased three of Tesla’s vehicles, including two first-generation Roadsters.

Over the past few months, O’Dowd has used his third Tesla vehicle, a Model 3, as an experiment to document the company’s full self-driving (FSD) beta to compile a list of some less-than-stellar moments from the emerging technology, known as The Dawn Project.

The accusations are as blunt as they come, with the narrator spelling out that the “full self-driving will run down a child in a school crosswalk, swerve into oncoming traffic, hit a baby in a stroller… and even drive on the wrong side of the road”.

The clip continues to state that “Tesla’s full self-driving is endangering the public with deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineering,” while concluding that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should no longer allow Tesla’s FSD beta on the road.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that O’Dowd has taken aim at Tesla’s self-driving tech, with the software millionaire paying for an advertising spot in the New York Times last year, and compiling onboard footage from Tesla owners of their FSD beta misbehaving.

Speaking with the Washington Post, O’Dowd said: “If Tesla gets away with this and ships this product and I can’t convince the public that a self-driving car that drives like a drunken, suicidal 13-year-old shouldn’t be on the road, I’m going to fail.’

Tesla has since sent the Dawn Project cease-and-desist letters labelling the accusations as “misinformation” with none other than Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, calling him “crazy” and his software company, Green Hills, a “pile of trash”. You can check out the full video below.

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