The Green Hills Software founder and CEO has alleged in a full-page advertisement that appeared in the New York Times that "millions would die every day" if the current version of Tesla's Full Self-Driving system was fully in control of every vehicle on the road.
O'Dowd, whose company provides operating systems to several automakers as well as the defense and aerospace industries, personally paid for the advertisement as part of The Dawn Project he has established, which calls for a ban on "unsafe software from safety critical systems," that could allow hackers to remotely operate connected devices, including autonomous cars connected to the internet, for deadly purposes.
O'Dowd based his critique on a study of videos posted online that show Tesla owners using the Full Self-Driving feature, which Tesla states is in a beta stage and only capable of limited autonomous capability under driver supervision. According to his review, the videos show that Full Self-Driving commits a "Critical Driving Error" every eight minutes and an "unforced error" every 36 minutes that would "likely cause a collision."
O'Dowd called Full Self-Driving the "worst piece of commercial software that I have ever seen" and thinks that it's really in an alpha phase that should be tested by Tesla employees in-house rather than Tesla owners.
"The software that drives self-driving cars that millions of lives are going to depend on must be the best software," he said.
While a restricted version of Full Self-Driving is available to anyone with a Tesla, owners can also apply to become beta testers of a more advanced version if they have a high enough driving safety score, as determined by their car's software.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk commented on the advertisement with a tweet that said, "Green Hills software is a pile of trash. Linux ftw," and agreed with a comment that Full Self-Driving critics "always have a huge financial interest in a competing solution."
O'Dowd told FOX Business that the best sources of information about a product are its competitors.
"They tear them apart, they figure out what they do right, they figure out what they do wrong, he said.
"They know better, and they'll tell you. The salesman is never going to tell you those things."
He also said that the original version of Tesla's Autopilot, which was a precursor to Full Self-Driving, was built using Green Hills Software.
"I backed away from the project and I said, 'I don't know that this is right, that this is what we should be doing here, that this isn't going to work.'"
FOX Business could not independently confirm O'Dowd's claim about Green HIlls Software's relationship with Tesla, and the automaker, which does not have a functioning media affairs office, has not responded to a request for comment.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in the process of investigating whether Full Self-Driving was involved in an accident that occurred in Brea, California, on Nov. 3, but Elon Musk said Tesla bull Ross Gerber's comment on Twitter that "there has not been one accident or injury since FSD beta launch" was correct.
To drive his point about Full Self-Driving's lack of safety home, O'Dowd is now offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can find another commercial product sold by a Fortune 500 company that has a critical malfunction every eight minutes.
Elon Musk last week announced that the price of the Full Self-Driving system will soon be raised from $10,000 to $12,000 and that additional increases can be expected as it is developed with new capabilities.