The Dawn Project’s FSD Criticism Comes Under Scrutiny After Using NTSB Logo in Advertising


The Dawn Project, a group critical of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system (FSD), received a letter from the NTSB demanding it stop using the NTSB logo in advertising. Funded and founded by Dan O’Dowd, CEO of a software company that competes with Tesla, and has a net worth estimated to be around a billion dollars. The group’s main goal is attacking Tesla’s FSD, claiming it to be unsafe. The Dawn Project has aired ads during the Super Bowl, including one this year that cost $552,000. The group has placed ads online with dubious claims about FSD, posing as a public interest group. The Dawn Project has received a cease-and-desist letter from Tesla. Dan O’Dowd ran for California’s US Senate seat in 2022, focusing on the issue of FSD. The group has posted ads on its YouTube channel, including one claiming that Tesla did not respond to warnings about FSD’s inability to stop for school buses. An incident in 2023 involved a child being hospitalized after a car accident allegedly involving FSD. FSD is not designed for full self-driving tasks, but as a driver aid that requires driver attention. The Dawn Project used footage of Tesla crashes with the NTSB logo in its Super Bowl ad, violating federal law according to the NTSB. The NTSB demanded that the Dawn Project cease using the NTSB seal and remove the logo from its website and YouTube page. The Dawn Project quickly complied with the NTSB’s letter, blurring the logo in its YouTube video. Dan O’Dowd has been accused of stretching the truth in his attacks on FSD, with potential business and political aspirations benefitting from the publicity. Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have also been criticized for repeatedly lying or misleading about FSD. The name FSD is misleading, and Tesla has broken promises regarding the hardware required for FSD. Overconfidence in FSD could lead to people using it in an unintended manner. Criticism of Tesla and FSD is not served well by taking liberties and stretching the truth in response. Valid points exist to criticize Tesla and FSD, without the need for falsifying government logos, staging fake tests, or misrepresenting real-life events. Both Tesla and the Dawn Project share fault in their approach to FSD.