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U.S. Warns Against VR Use While Driving: Tesla and Apple Under Scrutiny

In a world increasingly enamored with cutting-edge technology, the blend of virtual reality (VR) and driving has sparked a significant debate. A recent surge in viral videos showing Tesla drivers using VR headsets while navigating the roads has prompted a stern warning from U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. This trend, particularly involving devices like Apple’s newly released Vision Pro headset, has raised alarms over the potential risks to road safety.

The Viral Videos

The internet was abuzz when footage emerged of Tesla drivers, seemingly engrossed in the virtual realms facilitated by VR headsets, notably Apple’s Vision Pro. One such video, capturing a driver gesturing to manipulate a virtual reality field, amassed over 24 million views, highlighting the widespread fascination and concern with this hazardous practice.

Government Response

In response to these alarming incidents, Pete Buttigieg took to X (formerly Twitter), emphasizing the necessity for drivers to remain vigilant at all times. “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,” Buttigieg stated, addressing the critical importance of driver attentiveness despite technological advancements in vehicle automation.

Safety and Technology

Apple’s Vision Pro, which blends three-dimensional digital content with real-world views, was designed with a plethora of applications in mind, but not for use while driving. Apple explicitly advises against using the headset in such scenarios, a guideline seemingly overlooked by the individuals featured in the viral content. Similarly, Tesla has long maintained that its Autopilot feature is meant to assist a fully attentive driver, ready to take control of the vehicle at any moment—a stance reiterated in the face of recent critiques.

Company Responses

At the time of writing, neither Tesla nor Apple has offered a detailed response to the incidents or Buttigieg’s comments. Their silence leaves room for speculation and calls for a more definitive stance on the responsible use of their innovative technologies.

In Summary

The integration of VR technology into daily activities, including driving, presents an intriguing yet potentially perilous frontier. As we navigate this new landscape, the conversation around the ethical and safe use of such technologies becomes increasingly critical. The viral videos and Buttigieg’s subsequent warning serve as a reminder of the paramount importance of safety over the allure of technological novelty.

Photo by Tesla Fans Schweiz on Unsplash

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