Tesla’s Biggest Hatred Airs Super Bowl Ad Against FSD • TechCrunch

Safety advocacy group The Dawn Project is taking its campaign to ban Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) system to the Super Bowl.

The 30-second ad, which is being broadcast to millions of football fans in Washington DC and capitals including Austin, Tallahassee, Albany, Atlanta and Sacramento, outlines several alleged critical safety defects in the Tesla FSD, the advanced driver assistance system. (ADAS) from the automaker. .

The FSD is not fully autonomous, although it can perform some automated driving tasks, such as maneuvering through city streets and highways without driver intervention. The $15,000 system isn’t perfect, though, and drivers must remain alert to take control in case the system malfunctions or encounters something it can’t handle. There have been several reports of accidents occurring while Autopilot, Tesla’s low-level ADAS, was engaged. As a result, Tesla has been criticized, investigated and prosecuted for falsely marketing the capabilities of its automated driving systems.

This latest criticism comes as Tesla recently rolled out its latest version of the FSD to an estimated 400,000 drivers in North America, renewing concerns about the system’s safety. Last month, a Tesla engineer testified that a 2016 demonstration in which the company claimed its car was driving itself was actually staged.

The Super Bowl ad features a collection of incriminating videos of Teslas behaving erratically, while a voice-over claims that the FSD will “run over a child in a school crosswalk, swerve into traffic, hit a baby in a stroller”. baby, drive right past parked school buses, ignore ‘do not enter’ signs, and even drive on the wrong side of the road.

The Dawn Project claims that Tesla’s “misleading marketing” and “terribly inept engineering” are endangering the public, and urges the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Motor Vehicles to shut down the FSD until all malfunctions are resolved. security issues are corrected.

Dawn Project founder Dan O’Dowd is also the CEO of Green Hill Software, a company that builds operating systems for integrated safety and protection systems, as well as its own automated driving systems. This fact immediately lends credence to the organization’s potential subject matter knowledge and makes it clear that Green Hill is competing with Tesla’s FSD. Last year, The Dawn Project ran a full-page ad in The New York Times claiming that Tesla’s FSD has a “critical malfunction every eight minutes”.

O’Dowd, who ran for a US Senate seat last November and lost, says he’s investing in the new ad campaign because he wants to push politicians to prioritize ADAS security. Some politicians like Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) have called for more oversight of Tesla’s technology, but the issue hasn’t exactly gone viral.

After The Dawn Project ran a commercial last summer showing a Tesla Model 3 hitting four different child-sized mannequins while driving a California test track, Tesla sent the organization a cease and desist letter. The letter refuted all of the campaign’s claims, reinforced Tesla’s commitment to safety, and questioned The Dawn Project’s methodology.

“The alleged tests misuse and misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology and disregard widely recognized tests conducted by independent agencies, as well as the experiences shared by our customers,” Tesla attorney Dinna Eskin wrote in the year’s cease-and-desist. past. “In fact, unsolicited scrutiny of the methodology behind The Dawn Project tests already (and within hours of you publicly making defamatory allegations) has shown the test to be seriously misleading and likely fraudulent.”

Tesla supporters also rushed to defend the technology, including an investor who beta tested the FSD using his own son. O’Dowd offered to personally test Musk and other critics to prove the accuracy and methodology of his tests.

“Tesla continues to focus on marketing features and gimmicks, not fixing critical security defects,” O’Dowd said in a statement. “Elon went so far as to state that Tesla’s priorities were Smart Summon, Autopark and Optimus, not guaranteeing that the FSD does not trample children. It’s clear that Tesla’s priorities are wrong and it’s time for the regulator to step in and shut down the software until all the issues we’ve identified are fixed.”

Tesla has not publicly responded to the Super Bowl announcement, but CEO Elon Musk he responded to a tweet showing the ad with the Rolling on the Floor Laughing emoji. Tesla disbanded its PR department in 2020, so TechCrunch was unable to reach out for comment.

In addition to the Super Bowl ad, The Dawn Project is also launching a series of full-page ads in Politico and running additional TV ads in Washington, D.C., “where the regulators are located,” that will demand that the FSD be turned off by the critical moment. security defects are fixed.

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