Social media is saturated with videos that seem torn from science fiction: individuals “driving” Teslas on Autopilot with Apple Vision Pro headsets concealing their eyes.
These scenes have set off alarm bells among federal transportation authorities, though it seems at least some of the posts are skits filmed for content with the hopes of going viral, The New York Times reported.
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The Apple Vision Pro goggles, which were released on February 2 and start at $3,499, allow users to watch videos, surf the internet, and more in an immersive virtual reality. Apple sold more than 200,000 of the headsets during its presale, according to a source with knowledge of Apple’s sales numbers, per MacRumors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Tuesday that “driving while wearing a V.R. headset is reckless and disregards the safety of everyone on the road” after transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg warned of the danger in a post published on X.
Reminder—ALL advanced driver assistance systems available today require the human driver to be in control and fully engaged in the driving task at all times. pic.twitter.com/OpPy36mOgC
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) February 5, 2024
Buttigieg stressed that despite advancements in technology, people must “be in control and fully engaged in the driving task at all times.”
During a four-month period in 2022, eleven people were killed in U.S. crashes involving vehicles that were using automated self-driving systems, and ten of those deaths involved vehicles made by Tesla, per government data reported by The Associated Press.
Related: The Apple Vision Pro Will Revolutionize Remote Work — Just Not for Apple Employees. Here’s Why.
But 21-year-old Dante Lentini, a creator behind one of the videos that racked up more than 24 million views, claimed that his post — captioned “Think different” in a seeming call back to Apple’s 1990s advertising campaign — was nothing more than a stunt and that police cars captured at the end of the video weren’t there in connection to him.
— Dante (@lentinidante) February 2, 2024
Tesla didn’t respond to the NYT’s request for comment, and Apple directed the outlet to its website for safety guidance on the appropriate use of Vision Pro.