Videos shared on social media this week depict an almost dystopian, futuristic scene: drivers of Teslas wearing Apple Vision Pro headsets in Autopilot mode, oblivious to the road ahead.
The videos led to warnings to central transport officials.
But are people really carelessly riding around in Teslas on Autopilot mode, wearing new glasses for Apple's future? Or a little bit of everything? Part of an endless cycle of people doing stupid things for clicks, likes, views and influence?
The new glasses feature digital apps and one's surroundings into one immersive space, and since their February 2nd release, videos of people wearing them in a variety of settings have started to circulate online.
Many of the videos taken in the cars appear to be staged, and in many it is clear that someone other than the driver is recording. Videos are not widespread. However, they appeared irresponsible when Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg weighed in on social media.
“Reminder – All advanced driver assistance systems available today require the human driver to be in control and fully engaged in driving at all times” In a post on X Mr. Buttigieg said The video includes a driver using a headset in what appears to be a Tesla Cybertruck pickup.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also sounded the alarm Tuesday. “Driving while wearing a VR headset is irresponsible and disregards the safety of everyone on the road,” the company said in a statement.
Posted to Dante Lentini, 21 Video behind the wheel of a moving Tesla wearing the Vision Pro headsetIn an interview, he said, “It's all about content.”
In the video, Mr. Lentini appears to be typing while wearing a headset.
Mr. Lentini wrote in X. His video has been viewed more than 24 million times. (One commenter wrote, “I really hope you get arrested for this.”)
Later in the video, Mr. Lentini appears to be pulled over in a parking lot, with police vehicles in the background with their lights on. The way the video was edited, Mr. Lentini seems to have been dragged away.
But Mr. Lentini said in the interview that he was responding to something else in the area at the time, and that he and someone else recorded them “at the right time, at the right moment.”
Despite what it looks like in the video, he said he had no apps on the headset and only wore it for 30 seconds.
“It's just for video,” he said.
Is this the future? Is there a world where people can't get away from the digital world long enough to focus on everyday tasks like socializing or exercising?
Posted by Eric Decker, a YouTube and TikTok creator under the name Airrock Video Jokingly, “an average day for an Apple Vision Pro owner” shows wearing the headset while lifting weights at the gym, getting a haircut, going through airport security, walking down the street and taking a shower. (The Vision Pro is not waterproof.)
“I really feel like most of these videos are skits,” said Mr. Lentini said. “Only you can tell.”
Still, skid or not, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday that distracted driving is no joke. In 2021, more than 3,500 people in the United States were killed and more than 360,000 injured in distracted driving crashes, according to the agency.
“There are no fully autonomous vehicles for sale today,” the company said.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Apple declined to comment on the videos, but was quoted Safety guidance on its website on how to properly use Vision Pro.
“Do not use the device in a moving vehicle, bicycle, heavy machinery, or in any other situation that requires attention to safety,” the company says.
The Vision Pro headset has a driving mode feature for passengers, which disables the use of several apps, said Mr. Lentini said.
Apple has billed the Vision Pro as a “spatial computing” device that allows users to watch videos, send emails and browse the web in immersive virtual reality. Headsets start at $3,499.