Tesla sends cease and desist letter to Dan O’Dowd over The Dawn Project’s FSD Beta videos [Update]

fsd beta dawn project
Credit: The Dawn Project

Tesla has sent a cease and desist letter to Dan O’Dowd demanding that The Dawn Project take down videos purportedly showing Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta hitting child-sized mannequins on a test track.

A few weeks ago The Dawn Project launched a new ad campaign targeted directly at Tesla’s FSD Beta software. In a 30-second ad spot that aired on national television, The Dawn Project showed a white Tesla Model 3 “mow[ing] down children” on three separate tests, with the ad urging people to contact Congress to “shut it down.”

However, a deeper dive into the ad and the raw video posted to their website showed it wasn’t as it seemed, as the footage showed the test appeared to be manipulated in a way to purposely hit the mannequins. The footage was also extremely low quality and blurred, lending further credence to the tests not being above board.

In its cease-and-desist letter obtained by The Washington Post, Tesla agreed and says the ad is defamatory and “misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology.”

“The purported tests misuse and misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology, and disregard widely recognized testing performed by independent agencies as well as the experiences shared by our customers,” Tesla deputy general counsel Dinna Eskin wrote in the letter dated August 11, two days after the footage was first published.

The letter goes on to demand the immediate removal of the videos due to “unsafe and improper use” of FSD Beta.

O’Dowd isn’t backing down though, telling the Post that letter is “pathetic in terms of whining” and that he instead plans to spend more money in his battle with Tesla.

UPDATE 9:55am PDT: Here is a copy of the letter, shared by @WholeMarsBlog on Twitter. (click to enlarge)

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