- A Super Bowl ad showed a Tesla slamming into two child-sized mannequins and a stroller.
- It was created by The Dawn Project, a gaggle that has long attacked Tesla’s self-driving tech.
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the ad would raise awareness a Tesla could drive itself while supervised.
An commercial that aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl showed a Tesla slamming into two child-sized mannequins and hitting a stroller.
The 30-second ad was created by The Dawn Project, a company that campaigns to ban what it calls “unsafe software.” It was founded and is funded by California tech entrepreneur and Tesla critic Dan O’Dowd, who’s also CEO of Green Hills Software, a company that develops self-driving software.
The Dawn Project says the ad shows tests it performed with a Tesla using the corporate’s Full Self Driving (FSD) feature. In it, a Tesla will be seen swerving towards oncoming traffic, driving past a stopped school bus, driving on the improper side of the road, and ignoring “Do Not Enter” signs.
The ad also shows a Tesla slamming right into a toddler-size mannequin that is being pulled over a crosswalk, hitting a stroller in a parking lot, and crashing right into a larger mannequin that is being pulled across a road. Insider has individually viewed driver’s eye footage of the test involving the larger mannequin that shows FSD is engaged.
Tesla didn’t immediately reply to Insider’s request for comment, made outside normal US operating hours.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who was pictured sitting next to Rupert Murdoch on the Super Bowl, said in a tweet Sunday that The Dawn Project’s ad would “greatly increase public awareness that a Tesla can drive itself (supervised for now).”
In response to a Tesla fan account that accused The Dawn Project’s testing of being “fake,” Musk replied with a rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-face emoji.
Tesla says FSD enables its vehicles to mechanically change lanes, enter and exit highways, recognize stop signs, and more. It’s an add-on feature to the corporate’s Autopilot software and costs $15,000 in total, or $199 for a monthly subscription.
The Dawn Project’s ad said Tesla was “endangering the general public with deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineering.” On its website, The Dawn Project says Tesla’s FSD software is “not secure for public roads.”
The organization said its tests were conducted on public roads and showed that FSD “will commit a concerning array of critical driving errors.”
O’Dowd tweeted Saturday saying The Dawn Project had six months ago reported that a Tesla with FSD enabled “would run down a toddler.” O’Dowd said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should “turn off FSD until Tesla fixes all safety defects.”
The NHTSA launched a program to check fully-autonomous vehicles in 2020. Tesla has been in a position to avoid reporting collision data to the Department of Motor Vehicles because it maintains that its cars aren’t currently classified as fully autonomous, because they still require human intervention.
It is not the primary video The Dawn Project has made about Tesla’s FSD, the security of which has been questioned by beta testers in recent times. The organization released a video in 2022 showing a Tesla plowing through mannequins.