📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Super Bowl Ad Shows Self-Driving Tesla Decapitating a Mannequin and Running Over Baby Strollers The spot was sponsored by The Dawn Project, which is highly critical of Tesla's Full Self-Driving software.

By Jonathan Small

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In case you missed it on Sunday, an ad broadcast during the Super Bowl attacked Tesla's Full Self-Driving technology as dangerous and deadly.

The 30-second spot depicts brutal scenes of self-driving Teslas running over child mannequins and baby strollers, driving on the wrong side of the road, and blowing past "Do Not Enter" signs.

The national advertising campaign, which cost $600,000 to air during the Super Bowl, is sponsored by The Dawn Project, a California-based nonprofit that supports the development of computer operating systems that are "safe for humanity."

The organization has been particularly critical of Tesla's Full Self-Driving feature, claiming the software poses a threat to passengers and pedestrians.

"Tesla Full Self-Driving will run down a child in a school crosswalk," a female narrator says in the ad, as a video shows what it claims to be actual "safety test footage" of a Tesla crashing into a child mannequin in the street.

Related: Engineer: Tesla Self-Driving Demo Video Was Staged

Later in the ad, a Tesla plows into another child mannequin taking its head off.

"Tesla's Full Self-Driving is endangering the public with deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineering," the narrator says. Why does NHTSA allow Tesla Full Self-Driving?"

Who's behind the attack ad?

The Dawn Project was founded by Dan O'Dowd, a billionaire credited with creating the operating systems for projects including Boeing's 787s, Lockheed Martin's F-35 Fighter Jets, the Boeing B1-B Intercontinental Nuclear Bomber, and NASA's Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

Dowd is also CEO of Green Hills Software, which develops self-driving software.

The foundation's website shows numerous videos of self-driving Teslas malfunctioning in different road tests. In one video, O'Dowd accuses Tesla founder Elon Musk of running a Ponzi scheme.

What does Elon Musk think of the ad?

Musk seems to be taking it in stride despite the ad's harsh accusations. During the Super Bowl, cameras caught Musk kicking back in a private box seat with the CEO of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch.

The company has not directly addressed The Dawn Project, but in response to a tweet by Tesla Owners Silicon Valley that called the ad "fake," Musk responded with a LOL emoji.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."

Side Hustle

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

A hobby, interest or charity project can turn into a money-making business if you know the right steps to take.

Business News

These Are the 10 Most Profitable Cities for Airbnb Hosts, According to a New Report

Here's where Airbnb property owners and hosts are making the most money.


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.

Business News

How Much Do Engineers, Software Developers, and Analysts Make at Apple? See Salary List

Using application data from highly-skilled foreign workers, Insider revealed a range of salaries at the tech giant.