A Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta smear campaign is taking it to a whole new level because it’s going to have a Super Bowl commercial, according to the people behind the campaign.
Last year, we reported on Dan O’Dowd, a self-proclaimed billionaire and founder of Green Hills Software, a private company that makes operating systems and programming tools.
O’Dowd had launched a Senate campaign in his home state of California, but the tech executive made it clear he was making it a one-issue campaign, and that issue is the Full Self-Driving program of You’re here.
Under the protection of political advertisements, it invested several million dollars in an advertising campaign to attack Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta program in an effort to get him banned from public roads in the United States.
Even though O’Dowd lost his senatorial effort, the campaign continues as “The Dawn Project” and continues to attack Tesla.
Last summer, the campaign ran a new ad called “The Dangers of Tesla’s Comprehensive Self-Driving Software”, in which they showed footage from an internal test showing a Tesla Model 3 on FSD Beta hitting a child mannequin.
The next day, Electrek released a report that punched major holes in the announcementand the report Project Dawn released at the same time supposedly included the testing methodology behind the announcement.
For example, in some of the footage used to produce the video, FSD Beta was clearly not engaged.
Tesla ended up sending a cease and desist letter to Project Dawn throughout the campaign.
As we’ve often reported in the past, Tesla FSD Beta is a level driver assistance system that requires the driver’s attention at all times. The automaker is using the program to improve its neural networks to deliver on its self-driving promises.
The campaign produces unscientific tests where it puts FSD Beta in difficult situations and shows only the worst performance to produce these ads.
Now, O’Dowd has announced that they’ve produced a new anti-Tesla FSD Beta video that they’ll be showing as a new Super Bowl commercial this Sunday:
Again, the ad only shows a collection of bad Tesla FSD Beta performance and Tesla vehicles crashing into dummies. Additionally, he continues to refer to Tesla’s full self-driving beta program as “Tesla Full Self-Driving” – implying that’s what Tesla thinks self-driving should be.
It should also be noted that O’Dowd’s Green Hills Software claims to produce software for the automotive industry and specifically for driver assistance functions, making it a direct competitor to the autopilot and FSD efforts of You’re here.
Now, if you’ve been following my writing on Tesla’s FSD beta, you know I’m not the biggest fan, but I think this effort is dumb.
You can produce videos like this on any driver assistance system or self-driving programs if you use it for enough miles or set up unscientific tests for them.
You can see big Cruise and Waymo fails online, but of course since you can’t own the vehicle and use it all the time, it’s harder to produce a fail compilation video like this .
I agree that it’s important to criticize FSd Beta and point out its weakness, but O’Dowd isn’t just doing that, he’s launching a smear campaign and trying to get the program shut down by NHTSA. Again, it is a direct competitor to this program.
He claims it’s to save lives, but that seems dishonest. If you use FSD Beta as intended, it is no more dangerous than any other driver assistance function, with which you should also be careful.
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