About us

Background and expertise

Dan O’Dowd is an entrepreneur and CEO with over 40 years’ experience in designing and writing secure, safety-critical software.

Dan has built operating systems for the U.S. military’s fighter jets and some of the world’s most trusted organizations such as NASA, Boeing, and Airbus. His company, Green Hills Software, also helps automotive companies achieve safety and security, including that necessary for production-level automated driving systems, offering operating systems and development tools designed to address software security threats.

Dan has been a pioneer of making safety-critical software systems unhackable for the last 25 years.  Dan graduated from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1976 with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering. Now Dan is a recipient of the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award, which is the highest honorary which Caltech bestows upon a graduate. It was at Caltech that his passion for computers began to flourish.

After graduating he worked on developing some of the first embedded development tools for microprocessors. He used them to develop software for Mattel Electronic Football, which was the must-have Christmas toy of 1977. Dan then joined National Semiconductor in 1978 to design the architecture for the NS32000 32-bit microprocessor that was used in the Global Surveyor that went to Mars, and then mapped the whole surface of Mars.

Dan has also produced an unhackable laptop for the FBI, as well as an unhackable cell phone for the military. In an era where cyber espionage and cyber-attacks are among the largest threats to national security, the ability to secure our safety-critical infrastructure from external attack is paramount.

In 2021, Dan founded The Dawn Project, a public safety advocacy group campaigning to ban unsafe software from safety critical systems, which could be targeted by military-style hackers to cause chaos to our society.

The aim of The Dawn Project is to stop the use of commercial grade software in safety-critical systems. The first phase of this initiative is to convince the technology giants to adopt the principle that software that was not originally developed as safety-critical software must not be used in safety-critical systems.

Our first campaign is targeting Tesla full self-driving cars. We have conducted our own safety tests of Tesla FSD, revealing a series of critical safety defects which endanger the public on a daily basis.

We recently advertised our findings in a series of full-page advertisements in The New York Times, together with a nationwide television ad campaign and Super Bowl ad campaign in February 2023.

Dan O'Dowd

Dan O’Dowd, Dawn Project Founder

The Dawn Project

In 2021 Dan O’Dowd founded The Dawn Project, which campaigns to ensure all software in safety-critical infrastructure is secure and to make computers safe for humanity. The first danger The Dawn Project is tackling is Elon Musk’s reckless deployment of unsafe Full Self-Driving cars on our roads.

New York Times campaign

Super Bowl Commercial

In February 2023, The Dawn Project broadcast a public safety message during Super Bowl LVII, outlining the critical safety defects of Tesla Full Self-Driving and the significant threat this software poses to road safety. The Super Bowl ad is the latest in a multi-million dollar advertising campaign The Dawn Project has conducted since early 2022.

The Dawn Project’s ad was broadcast during the game to millions of viewers, politicians and regulators in Washington D.C, and state capitals including California, New York, Texas, Florida and Georgia.

The Dawn Project's Mission

The Dawn Project’s mission is to make computers safe for humanity.

Connecting the power grid, hospitals, and millions of cars to the Internet with software riddled with bugs and security defects has turned these systems into potential weapons of mass destruction at the mercy of hackers.

Ordinary commercial software was never intended to be used in systems which people’s lives depend on

The first danger The Dawn Project is tackling is Elon Musk’s reckless deployment of unsafe Full Self-Driving cars on our roads. Tesla’s FSD software is the most unreliable safety-critical computer system.

Tesla warns their drivers that FSD “might do the wrong thing at the worst time”. This is an unacceptable statement for a vehicle on public roads.

According to our study, Tesla Full Self-Driving malfunctions on average every 8 minutes in city streets. It should be banned from our roads immediately. We did not sign up our families to be Tesla crash test dummies.

The Dawn Project is campaigning to make our communities safer by banning Tesla Full Self-Driving from our roads.


According to our study, about every 8 minutes, Full Self-Driving commits a Critical Driving Error, which according to the California DMV’s Driving Performance Evaluation is a major error such as:

  • Making contact with an object when it could have been avoided
  • Disobeying traffic signs or signals
  • Disobeying safety personnel or safety vehicles
  • Making a dangerous manouver that forces others to take evasive action

Additionally, on average, about every 36 minutes of city driving, safety defects in the Full Self-Driving software cause a malfunction in the steering, braking, or throttle, that if not corrected by the driver would likely cause an accident.

The Dawn Project is specifically concerned at the speed by which self-driving vehicles, particularly Tesla Full Self-Driving, are being brought onto the market. The vulnerabilities in commercially available systems are of particular risk if rolled out to commercial vehicles across the world.

As a leading technology expert, our founder Dan O’Dowd understands your concerns about keeping our communities safe, and is uniquely placed to resolve this crucial issue.

Together, we can ensure that this vital issue is heard by politicians and regulators on the national stage.

Unsafe at Any Speed TV Advertising Campaign

Dan is applying his expertise in fail-safe technology to stand up to Elon Musk’s reckless deployment of unsafe Full Self-Driving cars on our roads.

Dan is running a nationwide advertising campaign, with an ad showing actual videos of shocking malfunctions in Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software.

A tribute to consumer advocate Ralph Nader’s famous crusade against the auto industry’s resistance to safety measures, Dan’s nationwide ad campaign features harrowing moments where Tesla’s FSD software failed and would have caused an accident had the driver not intervened. Frightened drivers can be heard swearing and gasping in fear.

Elon Musk’s broken promises

Listen to Elon Musk promising Robotaxis “next year” for the past 8 years.

These have still not yet been delivered and are not even close to being ready.

Is Tesla a giant Ponzi scheme?

Dan calls out Elon Musk’s false promises to investors and asks “Elon, is your Full Self-Driving software just a trillion dollar Ponzi scheme?”

Test Track

A safety test conducted by The Dawn Project reveals that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software represents a potentially lethal threat to child pedestrians.

Tell Congress to shut down Tesla’s dangerous Full Self-Driving software by signing The Dawn Project’s petition:

Add your name to join the campaign to ban Tesla Full Self-Driving.