After launching a nationwide TV advertising campaign exposing potential dangers of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software, I received this Cease and Desist letter from Tesla.
This is the most bizarre Cease and Desist letter I’ve ever seen. It’s mostly Tesla marketing propaganda and most of it appears to have been written by Elon Musk himself. It turns out, Mr. Free Speech Absolutist is just another crybaby hiding behind his lawyer’s skirt. He is obsessed with stopping me from exposing that his Full Self-Driving cars could mow down a child dressed in a safety vest in a school crosswalk. I guess because that wouldn’t be good for the brand.
The first paragraph of this letter is standard legal boilerplate that was written by a lawyer: to the point, sinister, threatening.
But then it appears to be all Elon:
“Californians soundly rejected a political campaign, which was based on the single issue of spreading misinformation about Tesla, with barely 1% of the votes in California’s U.S. Senate Race showing support for this platform. Despite the public’s very clear rejection,”
Here he mocks me for running for the U.S. Senate. But before I ran for the Senate I was completely unknown. And as he points out, I did it to spread the truth about the dangers of Full Self-Driving and build political connections. Even before I announced my candidacy everyone in Washington knew my name, because Politico ran a story titled, “He wants to destroy Elon Musk. He could end up endangering the Dems’ Senate plans.” I have now recruited many Senators and Members of Congress as allies to my cause.
You accuse us of spreading misinformation about Tesla:
- “by falsely claiming that Tesla’s FSD (Beta) technology will not recognize children.”
- We do not claim that Full Self-Driving never recognizes children.
- We say it doesn’t recognize a child when the internal display doesn’t indicate there is anything present at a child’s location or when FSD mashes a child (or a child-size mannequin).
- During our test it is clear that FSD doesn’t register the child mannequins on the internal display.
- “by falsely stating that the feature will run over children when it is engaged.”
- We do not claim Full Self-Driving will always run over every child in every circumstance.
- But our tests unequivocally show various circumstances under which that it will consistently run over some children.
“The purported tests misuse and misrepresent the capabilities of Tesla’s technology.”
The capabilities and limitations of Full Self-Driving are what they are. We made no representation about them. Rather, we tested them in foreseeable use situations and reported on the results of our tests.
“And disregard widely recognized testing performed by independent agencies as well as the experiences shared by our customers.”
We don’t disregard any widely recognized testing performed by independent agencies. They do their tests their way, we do our tests our way. We challenge Tesla to reveal its testing protocols and test results, if it has any, that would contradict our test results showing the operation of FSD.
And how exactly do you propose that we disregard the experiences shared by your customers? Do you demand that we silence your customers who have decided to run similar tests of their own, and who have achieved results similar to ours?
“In fact, unsolicited scrutiny of the methodology behind The Dawn Project’s tests has already (and within hours of you publicly making defamatory allegations) shown that the testing is seriously deceptive and likely fraudulent.”
It appears you are talking about unsolicited scrutiny by your infamously virulent band of fanboy Tesla stockholders, led by you and your apparent agent, @WholeMarsBlog, and motivated by greed. They immediately and widely promulgate baseless accusations against those who say anything negative about Tesla or Elon Musk. I previously documented this process at https://dawnproject.com/what-is-the-credibility-and-character-of-omar-qazi-wholemarsblog. I have seen nothing to suggest that even one of these useless trolls would ever be qualified to testify in court as an expert on testing methodology, or that they have any knowledge or experience in the field; and they certainly were not present at the testing.
Our tests are completely legitimate and not deceptive. We provided the raw data and obtained and made available affidavits from the participants.
“First, to be clear, FSD Beta incorporates safety by design and does recognize pedestrians, including children, and when utilized properly, the system reacts to prevent or mitigate a collision. In addition, every Tesla is equipped with Forward Collision Warning to warn drivers of an impending frontal collision; Automatic Emergency Braking to apply braking when an obstacle is detected that the Tesla may impact and Obstacle-Aware Acceleration to reduce acceleration when an obstacle ahead is in the driving path.”
Wow! That is an impressive list of cool sounding product names. I bet you are really proud of them. Nevertheless, they didn’t prevent Full Self-Driving from repeatedly mowing down child-size mannequins in school crosswalks as shown in our tests.
“Second, the totality of these safety features are the reason why Tesla vehicles have earned a reputation for being safest on the road. Contrary to the obviously results-driven bias of your purported tests, independent safety agencies have rated Tesla’s safety at the highest levels. For example, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to reducing death and injuries on the roadways, rates current tested Tesla models with “superior” Automatic Emergency Braking for both vehicle-to-pedestrian prevention and vehicle-to-vehicle collisions. 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.”1
Amid more chest-thumping, the only swipe at us is our “obviously results-driven bias of your purported tests.” But we have disclosed the methodology followed during the safety test and a full analysis of the results, together with signed and notarized affidavits from participants. Any observer can review and judge for themselves whether our tests were “results driven” or whether the results should drive all of us to demand that FSD be taken off the road until its many life-threatening flaws are fixed.
“[Footnote 1] Similar IIHS testing for Model X and Model Y is not available.”
Wait! Above you said Model Y was tested. Now you say testing it isn’t available for it. Elon, if you didn’t write this letter, you seriously need to fire the lawyers who did.
“In contrast, your testing and methodology have already received swift and public rebukes from multiple sources.”
From your same old, biased fanboys ….
“For example, the commercial you released claims that the tests shown were performed with Tesla’s FSD Beta engaged. But Electrek reported that your our own videos clearly show that FSD Beta was not engaged at times.”
Elon what does “your our own videos” mean? If the lawyers had proofed this sentence they would not have made this mistake (if they did you should fire them for making you look like a doofus).
Fred Lambert at Electrek made a stupid mistake when he said FSD was not engaged. His statement is easily proven false by anyone who is familiar with Full Self-Driving and has access to the raw footage that was made available at the time of the initial press release. Even Omar Qazi (@WholeMarsBlog), your top attack dog on Twitter, when he looked at the raw footage, concluded that FSD was in fact engaged and that “Fred [Lambert] was wrong.”
“Similarly, Electrek reports that The Dawn Project manipulated its video after being confronted with the defamatory nature of its advertisement.”
Another stupid lie, easily verified by anyone with a brain. Electrek said no such thing. They said additional files were made available. But that is not true either. Later, Lambert of Elektrek found the files that were already there. No videos were modified. The fanboys downloaded all the files soon after we posted them.
We do not and have never believed that our advertisement is defamatory, so why would we take any action when confronted with its “defamatory nature?” That makes no sense.
“Despite your clear knowledge of the misleading nature of the advertisements, you continue to promote and disseminate these advertisements on multiple mediums.”
Our advertisements are not misleading. We set up tests and clearly documented what we did. We ran those tests. We published the raw data and videos. We gave everyone who wants to, the ability to reproduce our results. We got affidavits from the participants. What could be misleading about that?
“While you and The Dawn Project purport to advocate for safety, the videos portray unsafe and improper use of FSD Beta and active safety features.”
It is your products that are unsafe. Our usage was done with exceptional safety precautions at all times. We didn’t use members of the public, we used professionals. Our professional test driver wore a fire suit and insisted on keeping the Tesla’s windows open so that in case of a fire he could escape even if the electronic systems failed and the doors locked him in. But good news, no one, other than our mannequin, was injured.
“Your actions actually put consumers as risk.”
Let me get this straight. I try 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, and I am putting consumers at risk? Look in the mirror.
Your actions to whip up your troll army against us encouraged some of them to test whether Full Self-Driving would run into real children. This brought widespread condemnation. Your favorite buddy on Twitter, Omar Qazi @WholeMarsBlog being the worst offender.
The rest of the letter is boring standard legal boilerplate written by the lawyers and Tesla puts forward no admissible evidence for any of its claims.
Master Scammer Musk’s game plan: 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. Fortunately, I can afford not to be intimidated by these threats.
Tesla Full Self-Driving software has no future. It is the most incompetently designed, implemented, and tested commercial software I have 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.
I dare you to come out and defend this technology.