Super Bowl Ad Sparks Controversy Over Tesla's 'Full Self-Driving' and Child Safety

Super Bowl Ad Sparks Controversy Over Tesla's 'Full Self-Driving' and Child Safety

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: February 13, 2023

The Dawn Project's Super Bowl ad has sparked controversy by taking aim at Tesla's 'Full Self-Driving' feature, claiming that it puts children at risk. The 30-second anti-Tesla ad, which aired during the big game, has reignited the debate over the safety and efficacy of the said feature. 

The $598,000 video advertisement was aired in various states, including Washington, DC, Austin, Tallahassee, Albany, Atlanta and Sacramento. It demonstrates the hazards of the Tesla Model 3 as it uses its Full Self-Driving feature, runs over child mannequins, baby strollers, and zooms past stop and “do not enter” signs. 

“Tesla’s Full Self-Driving is endangering the public with deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineering,” the commercial explained.  

The Dawn Project CEO Dan O’Dowd also expressed his own frustrations toward the automobile giant, calling it a “major threat to public safety.”   

“Elon Musk has released software that will run down children in school crosswalks, swerve into oncoming traffic and hit a baby in a stroller to all Tesla owners in North America," the CEO explained. 

Last August 2022, O’Dowd also posted a video showing the Tesla in Full Self-Driving mode, running headfirst into mannequins. Because of this, the CEO received a cease-and-desist letter from Tesla, as his company “[disparages] Tesla's commercial interests and disseminates defamatory information to the public." O’Dowd also received backlash from Tesla users, who published their videos testing the Full Self-Driving feature on dummies and even children, before YouTube eventually took them down. 

In response to Tesla’s letter, O’Dowd responded in a post to defend his tests. He continues to run national ads and posting online videos that showcase Musk’s technology as hazardous. 

Watch the commercial below:  

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