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Tesla Threatens to Sue The Dawn Project Over FSD Campaign, Hears Back Bring It on
Tesla has apparently reached its limit with The Dawn Project’s campaign against Full Self-Driving Beta. The company sent Dan O’Dowd, the founder of The Dawn Project, a “Cease and Desist” letter requiring him to stop “the dissemination of all defamatory advertisements” and to remove the videos that show a Tesla Model 3 hit child dummies while on FSD. O’Dowd’s response was long. Summing it up, it was “bring it on.”

Tesla Threatens to Sue The Dawn Project Over FSD Campaign, Hears Back Bring It on

The Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for childrenThe Dawn Project pays for a test to demonstrate Tesla vehicles do not stop for children
O’Dowd revealed the document in The Dawn Project’s blog, along with the reasons for him to qualify it as “the most bizarre Cease and Desist letter” he has ever seen. The Dawn Project’s founder even suggests it was written by Elon Musk himself because it is “mostly Tesla marketing propaganda.” He also implies it is an inept document after pointing out some errors.

The letter states this: “Notably, the IIHS conducted tests simulating crossing children for the 2022 Tesla Model 3 and 2022 Tesla Model Y, and in the tests, both models avoided collisions with the child dummies.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website confirms the information.

The problem is that the footnote associated with this sentence reads: “Similar IIHS testing for Model X and Model Y is not available.” Tesla seemingly contradicts itself: either the IIHS tested the car, or it didn’t. As we know it did, the Tesla attorney responsible for the document probably meant Model S instead of Model Y.

O’Dowd also makes fun of a writing mistake. The bold is on us: “But Electrek reported that your our own videos clearly show that FSD Beta was not engaged at times.” The Dawn Project founder mocks the lack of proofreading and states, "Fred Lambert at Electrek made a stupid mistake when he said FSD was not engaged.” To O’Dowd, having Omar Qazi – one of Musk's most dedicated advocates – confirm this in a tweet shows that the tests performed by The Dawn Project had no flaws. The Dawn Project founder publicly demanded Electrek correct the article.

Tesla heavily relies on the press coverage made by Electrek in its letter. It states, "Electrek reports that The Dawn Project manipulated its video after being confronted with the defamatory nature of its advertisement.” O’Dowd denies this was the case and argues it is “another stupid lie, easily verified by anyone with a brain.”

First of all, because Electrek would have never said so. Secondly, because what that website would have stated was that The Dawn Project added files to its test report. According to O’Dowd, the files were always on the page that described the tests.

The Dawn Project founder denies that he is running a smear campaign or defaming FSD. According to him, it is just showing the truth about “the most incompetently designed, implemented, and tested commercial software” he has ever seen. “All it does is take a perfectly good Tesla car and make it occasionally try to kill the driver, the passengers, and innocent bystanders.”

This is how O’Dowd justifies trying “to stop Tesla from putting Full Self-Driving cars that will mow down a child wearing a safety vest in a school crosswalk into the hands of 100,000 untrained consumers.” He is not alone: Ralph Nader and several other autonomous vehicles and safety experts expect Tesla to voluntarily do so or be forced by the American government to stop public testing with untrained drivers.

O’Dowd notes that he knows “Master Scammer Musk’s game plan” pretty well. “If the fanboys’ vile attacks don’t scare off a critic(,) he threatens them with endless baseless litigation which will cost them their house even if they win.” The Dawn Project founder concludes that he is fortunate because he “can afford not to be intimidated by these threats.”

As a billionaire himself, O’Dowd seems to be willing to meet Elon Musk in court. He says “Mr. Free Speech Absolutist” – as the Tesla CEO defined himself, apart from Technoking – “is just another crybaby hiding behind his lawyer’s skirt.” If Tesla decides to accept O’Dowd’s challenge, it may have to reveal FSD data and defend the beta software and its deployment strategy in front of a judge. Grab your popcorn.

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 Download: Tesla's Cease and Desist letter to The Dawn Project (PDF)

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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