Super Bowl ad shows self-driving Tesla decapitating a mannequin

by Ana Lopez

In case you missed it on Sunday, an ad that aired during the Super Bowl attacked Tesla’s fully self-driving technology as dangerous and deadly.

The 30-second spot features brutal scenes of self-driving Teslas running over child mannequins and strollers, driving on the wrong side of the road and blowing past “Do Not Enter” signs.

The national ad campaign, which cost $600,000 to air during the Super Bowl, is sponsored by The Dawn Project, a California-based nonprofit that supports the development of computer operating systems that are “safe for humanity.”

The organization is particularly critical of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving feature, claiming that the software poses a threat to passengers and pedestrians.

“Tesla Full Self-Driving will hit a child in a school crosswalk,” a female narrator says in the ad, as a video shows what it claims to be “safety test footage” of a Tesla crashing into a child mannequin in the car street.

Related: Engineer: Tesla self-driving demo video was staged

Later in the ad, a Tesla plows into another child puppet who takes its head off.

“Tesla’s Full Self-Driving puts the public at risk with misleading marketing and hopelessly inept engineering,” the narrator says. Why is NHTSA allowing Tesla full self-driving?”

Who is behind the attack ad?

The Dawn Project was founded by Dan O’Dowd, a billionaire who developed the operating systems for such projects as Boeing’s 787s, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Fighter Jets, the Boeing B1-B Intercontinental Nuclear Bomber, and NASA’s Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

Dowd is also CEO of Green Hills Software, which develops self-driving software.

The foundation’s website features numerous videos of self-driving Teslas breaking down during various road tests. In one video, O’Dowd accuses Tesla founder Elon Musk of running a Ponzi scheme.

What does Elon Musk think of the ad?

Musk seems to be doing well despite the harsh accusations in the ad. During the Super Bowl, cameras caught Musk reclining in a private seat with News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch.

The company hasn’t directly addressed The Dawn Project, but in response to a tweet from Tesla owners in Silicon Valley calling the ad “fake,” Musk responded with a LOL emoji.


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