On August 9th, a Twitter user by the name of Taylor Ogan posted a video comparing the emergency brake system of a Model 3 and a Lexus by using a child dummy. Though the Model 3 was equipped with FSD and AEB, it ended up hitting the dummy.
It’s 2022, and Teslas still aren’t stopping for children. pic.twitter.com/GGBh6sAYZS
— Taylor Ogan (@TaylorOgan) August 9, 2022
After over 13.5 million people viewed the video, speculation of the results and the test itself, originally taken in May, has now escalated. Now, according to The Washington Post, Tesla is calling for the video to be taken down claiming that the video is defamatory and does not represent their Full-Self Driving system.
Who ran the test and why is it so important? The short answer: a smear campaign.
If we look at other accounts that posted a video like the one done by Taylor Ogan, one that sticks out the most is one called The Dawn Project, and another ran by Dan O’Dowd. The Dawn Project, according to their website, is an organization that advocates for “software that never fails and can’t be hacked.” The website is full of anti-Tesla ad campaigns and even promises a $10,000 reward for the first person who can name a Fortune 500 company that has a malfunction every 8 minutes. Dan O’Dowd, the other account mentioned, is the founder of the project is also in one of the videos asking Elon Musk if FSD is a trillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. O’Dowd also, according to Tesmanian, ran for California’s State Senate office. His main campaign: banning Tesla’s Full-Self-Driving system.
After examining the coordinators of the “failed” FSD test, it is clear that there was a desired outcome. The idea of technology that cannot fail or be hacked is almost impossible. If we were to go by that logic, The Dawn Project’s website or any website could fall under that category. I guess we’ll have to resort back to carrier pigeons.
But do not take my word for it. Other people have pointed out that the video shows that autopilot, which is activated by pulling down on the drive stalk twice, was conveniently not engaged during the test. You can see that the driver makes a hand motion that is supposed to show that the stalk was pulled but it is 1: hard to tell and, 2: the motion was only made once. When a Tesla is in autopilot, the center display indicates that the driver is in FSD mode. This obvious indicator of FSD being activated does not match the video.
The cease-and-desist letter was sent to the company and O’Dowd. It stated that they had to remove all defamatory ads, videos the included the caption “test track,” issue a public statement retracting all allegations against Tesla, make all of those who funded and endorsed the test known.
Elon Musk has also announced that Tesla is setting up a “hard-core litigation department” for those who are trying to defame the company.
As of now, Electrek writes that O’Dowd has made the rational decision to not comply and has doubled down by calling Elon Musk a “coward.”