Viral video of a motorist appearing to leavedriving while wearing the new Apple Vision Pro headset is raising alarms at the highest levels of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Despite their names, Tesla’s assisted driving features – Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Fully Autonomous Driving – do not mean the vehicles are fully autonomous, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on social media on Monday.
“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 posted on X (formerly Twitter).
Buttigieg’s tweet came in response to a video that has been viewed more than 24 million times, showing a Tesla driver taking his hands off the steering wheel while apparently controlling a virtual reality screen of the type used by Apple’s Vision Pro . The 23-second clip was released on February 2, the day the expensive Vision Pro.
Apple specifically warns against using the Vision Pro while driving in its user guide. “Never use the device while operating a moving vehicle, riding a bicycle, operating heavy machinery, or in any other situation requiring special attention to safety,” it says.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
The electric car manufacturer in Decemberacross its model range to repair a faulty system meant to ensure drivers pay attention when using the autopilot function.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation into Tesla in 2021 following crashes that resulted in more than a dozen deaths involving Tesla’s driver assistance features. Last year, the agency told CBS News that its investigation found that Autopilot’s means of ensuring drivers were paying attention were inadequate.
Autopilot can automatically steer, accelerate and brake in its lane, but cannot drive itself. In a report filed with NHTSA, Tesla said Autopilot controls “may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse.”
The driver of the Tesla in the video told Gizmodo that he made the video with friends as a “sketch” and drove the vehicle while wearing the Apple headset for 30 to 40 seconds.
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