You shouldn’t use an Apple Vision Pro while driving, but the company is seriously thinking about letting you do so

Apple Vision Pro while driving
(Image credit: @tentinidante (X))

What was the first idiotic thing you saw Apple Vision Pro users doing? Easy — wearing while driving. It even prompted the U.S. Government to remind people that headset passthrough is not a replacement for your eyes when behind the wheel.

But while Apple makes it clear where you should and shouldn’t wear its headset (driving is firmly in the latter), it’s clear Cupertino is thinking about Vision Pro as a driving aid — given the head mounted display (HMD) patents it just applied for, and subsequently uncovered by Patently Apple.

Cruisin’ down the street in my Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro driving patent

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

One crucial thing to detail here is that these patents don’t directly cover wearing these while being in complete control of the car. They are all centered around how to build on cruise control.

Essentially, Apple is bringing Spatial Computing to the driving seat — providing on-display visualizations of the speed limit, and a map mode that gives you all the critical data too, alongside a lane guidance indicator. All of this data would be fed back to the car that Vision Pro is connected to.

On top of that, to cut down on the various button presses needed to alter the speed of traditional cruise control, Apple envisions you potentially using the likes of a hand or facial gesture, or maybe even a voice command.

Where have we heard this before?

Xreal Air 2 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Cast your mind back to CES 2024 (yes, it feels like it happened years ago). Alongside the Air 2 Ultra, Xreal announced some strategic partnerships — one of which includes working with BMW to use the glasses to overlay hazard warnings, navigation steps, and even visual parking instructions.

Of course, Apple’s patents give it a more visual concreteness than a partnership with a car company, but it’s clear that both these companies and more (in secret) are looking at how AR can improve the driving experience. 

In other news, there were other HMD specific patents published this week — including “presentations in multi-user communication sessions” (translation: shared watching experiences), and “latency correction for a camera image.” The latter is especially interesting when taking into account the driving patents here, as it will be imperative for Apple to drive down that 12ms response time.

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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.