Along with the game, Super Bowl is also known for the ads as companies try to advertise their products during the event. This year, Dawn Project released a 30-second commercial calling out Tesla (NYSE: TSLA) for deceptive marketing.
The video shows a Tesla Model 3 allegedly on FSD and proclaims “Tesla Full Self-Driving 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.”
The Dawn Project told CNN that it paid $598,000 for the ad. The video claims “Tesla’s Full Self-Driving is endangering the public with deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineering.”
Claiming that 90% want Tesla FSD banned, the commercial ends with the question “why does NHTSA allows Tesla Full-Self Driving.”
The Dawn Project which was founded by Dan O’Dowd has been a vocal critic of Tesla FSD in the past also.
Incidentally, in August last year, Ralph Nader also called upon the NHTSA to recall FSD. Terming it “so-called” FSD, Nader who is a consumer advocate called it “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades.” He added that the software, which is installed in over 100,000 Tesla cars malfunctions every eight minutes.
Dawn Project Ad Takes a Swipe at Tesla FSD in Super Bowl Ad
Tesla and its flamboyant CEO Elon Musk are often at loggerheads with regulators and other government agencies. The company’s self-driving software has particularly been a bone of contention between Tesla and several agencies.
Recently, Tesla disclosed that the DOJ requested documents related to FSD. The SEC is also investigating the company for alleged deceptive marketing practices for the FSD.
Notably, while Tesla has gradually raised FSD prices and it now costs $15,000, it has missed several milestones.
The company’s self-driving claims have always been controversial including the very term FSD (full-self driving) which implies that it is fully autonomous which obviously it is not. Even Tesla advises drivers to keep their hands on the steering all the time even if the car is on Autopilot.
A Tesla engineer testified that the company had staged a 2016 video that promoted the company’s self-driving.
Tesla FSD Faces Multiple Investigations
The video, which is still on the company’s website, showed a Model X driving on its own. It carried the tagline, “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”
The US NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is also separately investigating Tesla Autopilot after multiple crashes involving the software. The California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) also accused the Elon Musk-run company of using deceptive practices to market the FSD.
Musk meanwhile sees FSD as a key driver and predicted that its price would eventually rise to $100,000. Many Tesla bulls also like the stock for its software capabilities. There is a guide on how to buy Tesla stock.
Last year, Tesla extended FSD to all North American buyers. In the fourth quarter of 2022, it earned $300 million from FSD sales and said that nearly 400,000 customers in North America have the software.
During Tesla’s Q4 2022 earnings call, Musk said that he does not see any company which is even a “distant second” to Tesla in self-driving. He added, “I don’t think you could see a second place with a telescope, at least we can’t.”
Several Automotive Companies Are Working on Autonomous Cars
Even as Musk claimed that no company comes closer to it in self-driving, many Chinese companies look like good competitors.
Late last year, Baidu started offering robotaxis during the night in Wuhan. People in Wuhan can now ride a Baidu robotaxis between 7 pm to 11 pm without safety drivers. Previously, the company’s robotaxis could operate between only 9 am and 5 pm.
In September, Chinese EV company Xpeng Motors debuted a semi-autonomous driving system in China. It also launched the pilot program of its Navigation Guided Pilot (City NGP).
NIO meanwhile partnered with Tencent for self-driving technology. Last year, billionaire investor Baillie Gifford also increased his stake in NIO. Many analysts see NIO as a worthy competitor to Tesla. There is a guide on buying NIO stock.
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