U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg addressed concerns on Monday regarding the use of virtual reality (VR) headsets while driving, particularly in Tesla vehicles, after videos depicting such instances gained significant traction online. In response to footage showing Tesla drivers seemingly utilizing Apple’s newly released Vision Pro headset, Buttigieg emphasized the imperative for human drivers to remain fully attentive while operating vehicles.
One video, garnering over 24 million views, portrayed a Tesla Cybertruck driver engaging with what appeared to be virtual reality content, prompting Buttigieg to underscore the necessity for drivers to maintain control and focus on the road. He stressed that despite the advancements in driver assistance systems, human oversight remains crucial for safe driving.
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
The Vision Pro headset, introduced by Apple just last week, merges three-dimensional digital elements with real-world visuals. While Apple explicitly advises against using the device while driving, they refrained from immediate comment when contacted about the situation.
Similarly, Tesla, upon request, did not provide a statement regarding the matter. Buttigieg’s remarks echo previous concerns he has expressed regarding the use of Tesla’s Autopilot feature. Tesla, for its part, asserts that their advanced driving features are designed to be utilized with an attentive driver who is ready to assume control if necessary.
Buttigieg’s statement serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for responsible driving practices, particularly in the context of emerging technologies that may pose distractions or safety risks on the road.