The viral videos of people driving around in Teslas while wearing Apple Vision Pro headsets have caused federal transportation officials to issue warnings about the dangers of distracted driving. While some of the videos appear to show people actually operating vehicles while wearing the new Apple goggles, others appear to be staged and clearly not indicative of widespread behavior. In response, Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, urged that all advanced driver assistance systems require the human driver to be in control and fully engaged at all times. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the recklessness and disregard for safety associated with driving while wearing a V.R. headset.
One young man who posted a video of himself behind the wheel of a moving Tesla while wearing a Vision Pro headset claimed that the stunt was only for content and that he had not actually turned on any apps in the headset, wearing it for only about 30 seconds. Nevertheless, videos and images have surfaced of people wearing the headset while dining at restaurants, working out at the gym, and going about various daily tasks. Some have questioned whether this behavior is a glimpse into the future, where people are unable to disengage from the digital realm even during everyday activities. Despite the humorous nature of many of the videos, the NHTSA emphasized that distracted driving is no joke, citing statistics on the high number of casualties caused by this type of behavior.
It’s unclear whether Tesla or Apple will respond directly to the warnings issued this week, but Apple has specified that the Vision Pro headset is equipped with a driving mode feature intended for passengers that disables the use of many apps. These futuristic new goggles, priced starting at $3,499, are marketed as a “spatial computing” device that allows users to watch videos, send emails, and surf the internet in an immersive virtual reality.