Tesla's Competitor Pulls a Punch

Tesla's Competitor Pulls a Punch

The Full Self-Driving (FSD) system from Tesla is being challenged by the safety advocacy group, The Dawn Project, at the Super Bowl.  The 30-second advertisement lists a number of purported serious safety flaws in Tesla FSD, the automaker's advanced driver assistance system, and is being shown to millions of football fans in Washington, D.C., and several other state capitals. Seems quite an effort to defame an opponent.

FSD can do some automated driving functions, including navigating through city streets and highways without a driver's input, but it is not entirely self-driving. Drivers must be ready to take over in case the $15,000 system breaks down or encounters an obstacle that it can't manage because it isn't perfect yet. There have been numerous reports of incidents happening while Tesla's lowest level ADAS, Autopilot, was activated. As a result of misrepresenting the capabilities of its automated driving systems, Tesla has come under fire, been the subject of an investigation, and been sued.

A voiceover in the Super Bowl commercial claims that FSD will run down a child in a school crosswalk, swerve into oncoming traffic, hit a baby in a stroller, go straight past stopped school buses, ignore "do not enter" signs, and even drive on the wrong side of the road while playing clips of Teslas acting erratically. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Motor Vehicles urged Tesla to turn off FSD until all safety issues are resolved.

Dan O'Dowd, the creator of The Dawn Project, also serves as the CEO of Green Hill Software. This business creates operating systems for embedded security and safety systems and its own automated driving systems. It is evident that Green Hill is in direct competition with Tesla's FSD. The Dawn Project published a full-page advertisement in The New York Times last year alleging that Tesla's FSD experiences a major fault every eight minutes.

O'Dowd, who unsuccessfully sought election to the U.S. Senate last November, claims he is funding the new advertising campaign in an effort to urge elected officials to give safety top priority. More regulation of Tesla's technology has been demanded by certain politicians, including Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass. ), but the subject hasn't exactly gained widespread attention.

Dan O'Dowd, founder of The Dawn Project.

Tesla handed The Dawn Project a cease-and-desist letter after the organization's commercial, which featured a Tesla Model 3 hitting four distinct kid-sized mannequins while driving a California test track, ran last summer. The letter addressed every point made by the campaign, reaffirmed Tesla's dedication to safety, and questioned The Dawn Project's methods.

Supporters of Tesla raced to defend the technology, including one investor who used his own child to test the FSD beta. Tesla hasn't publicly reacted to the Super Bowl ad, but CEO Elon Musk responded to a tweet containing the advertisement with the emoji for rolling around laughing.

FSD Delays

Because Elon Musk wants FSD to evolve into a smarter, more autonomous feature, there will be delays in perfecting this software. The crucial Full Self-Driving Beta v11 software update from Tesla is postponed since the carmaker seems to be having significant shipment challenges. Being that Tesla's FSD and Autopilot highway stacks are supposed to be combined, Tesla FSD Beta v11 is a thrilling development.

Because of FSD Beta, Tesla vehicles can drive themselves to a destination indicated in the navigation system, but the driver must always be aware and ready to take over. Tesla's system is still considered as a level-two driver-assist system despite its designation because the driver is still ultimately in charge.

Tesla has constantly added new owners to the FSD Beta program and released new software updates. Although Tesla was meant to deploy v11 to the fleet in November 2022, the upgrade has been delayed in testing within Tesla's closed fleet ever since. As a result, the majority of these owners have yet to get substantial FSD beta updates.

From a consumer standpoint, the update is significant because it is anticipated to combine Tesla's Autopilot software stack, which is used as a level 2 driver assistance system on highways, with Tesla's FSD Beta software stack, which is primarily used on roads and city streets. Musk noted that the update includes many new neural networks.