Tesla drivers warned not to wear Apple Vision Pro whilst driving
Tesla owners have recently come under scrutiny following the circulation of viral videos showing drivers wearing Apple's new virtual reality headset while behind the wheel.
The US Secretary of Transport, Pete Buttigieg, took to X (previously known as Twitter) to issue a cautionary reminder that all vehicles, regardless of their advanced driver assistance capabilities, mandate the driver's active engagement and control at all times.
The videos in question predominantly feature individuals seated in the driver's positions of cars, notably Tesla’s, which boast an autonomous driving mode, all the while donning the Apple headset, obscuring their vision. However, one of the drivers featured in these viral videos has confessed that his own contribution was merely a prank.
A particular video, coinciding with the public release of the Apple Vision Pro, depicted a man purportedly being stopped by police while wearing the headset in a Tesla. However, this incident was later revealed by Gizmodo as a staged ‘skit’, with the individual involved admitting to having driven with the headset for a brief period of 30-40 seconds.
Both Apple and Tesla explicitly caution against the use of the Vision Pro headset while driving. Apple's user guide advises against it, and Tesla's guidance emphasises the importance of driver responsibility and control, even when the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode.
The Apple Vision Pro headset, which hit the US market on February 2nd with a price tag of $3,499 (£2,749), introduces what Apple terms ‘spatial computing’ to its users. Although the headset allows for some degree of transparency in certain modes, it significantly hampers vision, making it unsuitable for driving.
Apple has notably avoided categorising the device under traditional virtual reality labels, opting instead for the term ‘spatial computing’ and advising developers not to refer to app experiences as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR), or mixed reality (MR).
The enthusiasm for the Apple Vision Pro has seen users donning the headset in various public settings, including the New York subway and gyms, showcasing the broad interest in experiencing Apple's latest technological venture outside traditional environments. However, the recent controversy underscores the paramount importance of safety and responsibility, particularly when it comes to the intersection of technology and automotive travel.