Back in January 2022, we told you about Dan O'Dowd, the CEO of Green Hills Software, who ran a New York Times ad claiming Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta would kill millions of people. Since then, O'Dowd has been engaging in plenty of back and forth with Tesla fans, owners, and investors on social media.
Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has noted that the FSD Beta software is now active in over 100,000 cars. To date, we're not aware of the software killing anyone, nor even injuring anyone. As far as we understand, there hasn't yet been a notable accident blamed on Tesla's FSD.
Nonetheless, O'Dowd is upping the ante. According to a recent report by Electrek, the billionaire now has a Senate campaign underway in California. The interesting part here is he has said publicly that his campaign revolves around a single issue, Tesla's Full Self-Driving Capability.
O'Dowd recently participated in an interview with Politico entitled "Tech mogul on his quixotic Senate bid: It’s not just about eviscerating Elon Musk." He shared that his single-issue campaign will include only talk about Tesla, as well as power grid security, water treatment plants, and cyber attacks.
O'Dowd made it clear how he feels about Tesla's FSD Beta. According to the self-described billionaire who runs a competing software company, Tesla's technology fails constantly and is "unbelievably bad." He believes it should be immediately banned from US roads.
Tesla fans, owners, and investors have noted that O'Dowd is cherry-picking old video clips with no context. Moreover, he is running the clips as part of his video ad campaign, though he hasn't requested permission from any of the video makers, and some of them are on camera in the video clips, which they believe O'Dowd must have permission to publish. Check out his first campaign ad below, It's entitled “Unsafe at Any Speed”:
Electrek says the tech billionaire will be spending millions to run such ads in 36 states. However, O'Dowd is reportedly causing concern in the Democratic party due to the potential impact of his campaign on California's appointed junior senator Alex Padilla.
Based on what we've seen so far from O'Dowd, it's no surprise he's launching a full-fledged anti-Tesla campaign. However, why the run for office?
Electrek and others have suggested that the political run may allow him to get away with the use of others' video clips thanks to First Amendment rights. Moreover, the political campaign will also likely make more money available to ramp up the campaign against Tesla due to fundraising and support from other like-minded individuals.
O'Dowd went on to say that he will stop his Senate run if the legislature promises to ban Tesla from using its FSD Beta technology on public roads. However, other politicians will have to look very carefully at O'Dowd's efforts and intentions before committing to such a goal.
It has been made clear that the tech billionaire is the CEO of a company that's competing with Tesla on the software, which complicates the situation significantly. His Twitter bio read:
"Green Hills Software CEO and Founder of The Dawn Project. I am running for U.S. Senate to make computers safe for humanity and ban Tesla Full Self-Driving."
What's more, to date, it doesn't seem as though O'Dowd has any proof of Tesla's FSD Beta being a killing machine.
This is a developing story. There's a whole lot to unpack, and we imagine much more will be coming to the surface in the near future.
In the meantime, let us know what you think. Do you agree with Dan O'Dowd? If so, do you believe he's doing everything by the book? Will his campaign succeed or will he end up in hot water? Start a conversation in our comment section below.