Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to revolutionize the way people live, work and travel across cities... oh, and have sex, according to a new study from the Annals of Tourism Research titled: “Autonomous vehicles and the future of urban tourism.”
Co-authors Scott Cohen, a tourism professor at the University of Surrey, and Debbie Hopkins, a transportation instructor at the University of Oxford, discovered that CAVs have the potential to reshape the night-time visitor economy.
“It’s only a natural conclusion that sex in autonomous vehicles will become a phenomenon,” Cohen told The Washington Post, citing convenience and the interior redesigns of CAV automobiles.
Hopkins & Schwanen said mass market penetration and growth in public acceptance of CAVs could be as early as 2025, first in parts of Asia, Europe, and the US, and are forecasted by some to be the primary means of transportation globally by 2040.
The academics searched over 150 studies on the future of automobiles and attempted to envision the technology’s impact on the night-time visitor economy: How could CAVs transform the sex industry?
Silicon Valley transportation analyst forecast that the economy is less than a decade away from the series production of driverless cars - some futurists predict that traditional taxis will be obsolete.
With no driver costs, auto and tech companies could reinvest more into the customer experience. Interiors may become more spacious with bedding and or a massage chair, analysts said.
Enter “hotels-by-the-hour” on wheels, Cohen said, "a fleet of rolling love making bedrooms." Tourists could summon the autonomous vehicle with a prostitute of their choice via the app on a basic smartphone.
“It is just a small leap to imagine Amsterdam’s Red Light District ‘on the move,’ ” Cohen and Hopkins wrote. Sex, they noted, “plays a central role in many tourism experiences. ”
Given the potentially short timeline until CAVs enter the mass market, mobile prostitution could disrupt the entire underground economy by the mid-2020s: "While [driverless cars] will likely be monitored to deter passengers having sex or using drugs in them,” the authors warned, “such surveillance may be rapidly overcome, disabled or removed."
Cohen said law enforcement agencies should prepare for such looming threats, indicating that CAVs could provide cover for black market participants.
Missy Cummings, a mechanical engineering professor at Duke University, told The Washington Post that major tech firms and automakers across the world are currently developing and testing autonomous vehicles.
Back in March, one of Uber's test cars killed a pedestrian. It was later learned Uber employees had disabled the automatic-braking features so the vehicle would not slow erratically during testing, The Washington Post said.
Kate Devlin, the author of “Turned On: Science, Sex and Robots,” said a fully tinted driverless vehicle cannot hide everything.
“Self-driving cars track a lot of data,” she said.
Devlin warned that autonomous vehicles would be collecting data on the occupants inside. Unlike a hotel room, they will have artificial intelligence monitoring cameras, microphones, and sensors. This means implications for sex workers are even more complicated:
“Would this be good in terms of sex workers’ security in that it could provide location information for safety,” Devlin said, “or could such data be used against sex workers where such work is criminalized?”
Sex on wheels could be coming to a city near you by 2025. It would not shock us if silicone robots replace human sex workers by that time.