Viral Videos of Tesla Drivers Using VR Headsets Prompt US Government Alarm

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg attends the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., February 1, 2024.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Monday said human drivers must pay attention at all times after videos emerged of people driving Teslas while wearing what appeared to be Apple’s AAPL.O recently released Vision Pro headset.

Buttigieg responded on X to a video that had more than 24 million views of a Tesla TSLA.O driver who appeared to be gesturing with his hands to manipulate a virtual reality field.

“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 said.

Apple’s Vision Pro was released last week and blends three-dimensional digital content with a view of the outside world. Apple, which says people should never use it while operating a moving vehicle, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Buttigieg has made similar comments previously about the use of Tesla Autopilot. Tesla says its advanced driver features are intended for use with a fully attentive driver “who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment.”