Concerns Mount as Videos Surface of Tesla Drivers Using Mixed Reality Headsets Behind the Wheel

by | Feb 11, 2024

Videos showing Tesla drivers wearing Apple’s new $3,500 Vision Pro mixed reality headsets while driving have gained significant attention online. These videos have sparked a debate about the safety implications of using such devices while driving. Experts and officials have joined the discussion, highlighting the potential hazards of distracted driving and the use of advanced driver assistance systems.

The viral videos show Tesla drivers doing various activities while wearing the controversial headsets. This has raised concerns about the responsibility of both the driver and the vehicle manufacturer in ensuring road safety. Despite one New York University computer science student claiming their video was just a “skit,” the consequences of such actions should not be ignored.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg emphasizes the importance of human drivers being fully engaged and in control when using advanced driver assistance systems. While Tesla vehicles already have partially automated systems, drivers need to understand that they are ultimately responsible for their safety, even with these advanced technologies in place.

In Canada, tech experts have expressed concerns about using mixed reality headsets while driving. Distracted driving is illegal in Canada, and professionals like Professor Bruce Hellinga from the University of Waterloo have highlighted the dangers of wearing headsets that divert a driver’s attention from the road. Associate Professor Shi Cao, also from the University of Waterloo, goes further, calling the act of using mixed reality headsets while driving “stupid.” Cao explains that the level of distraction depends on the content viewed inside the headsets, but the potential consequences for road safety remain the same.

While some argue that these headsets may be safer to use in specific driving scenarios, such as dedicated lanes for autonomous vehicles, experts caution against relying on them as a solution. Douglas Soltys, editor-in-chief of BetaKit, emphasizes that the dangers of distracted driving should never be underestimated, and these devices should never be worn while driving under any circumstances.

Apple and Tesla have not directly responded to the viral videos. However, it is important to note that these companies do not take financial or legal responsibility for the performance of self-driving systems. As the responsibility for safety lies with the driver, individuals must understand the potential risks of using mixed reality headsets while driving.

Looking ahead, Shi Cao envisions a future where mixed reality headsets could be safely used in limited conditions with fully autonomous cars. However, since fully automated driving systems are not currently available, drivers must be cautious and avoid activities that may hinder their ability to react to road conditions.

While the viral videos have sparked a debate on road safety and the use of advanced technologies, the primary focus should always be on ensuring the safety of all road users. The potential risks of wearing mixed reality headsets while driving cannot be ignored, and drivers must prioritize their attention and focus on the road.

In conclusion, the viral videos of Tesla drivers wearing mixed reality headsets have raised valid safety concerns. Experts are highlighting the dangers of distracted driving and discouraging the use of such devices while driving. With the responsibility for safety resting solely on the driver, individuals must prioritize their attention and avoid activities that could compromise road safety. As technology continues to advance, it is important to strike a balance between innovation and the well-being of all road users.