A study on how autonomous vehicles could affect urban tourism has concluded that self-driving cars will lead folks to have more car sex, and could even foster sex for hire.
Published in the journal Annals of Tourism Research, the study attempts to predict the effects that widespread deployment of autonomous vehicles will have on the culture and industries of cities nationwide. As a part of human culture—and arguably its oldest profession—sex was one of the aspects examined for how it will be impacted by propagation of autonomous vehicles.
A 2017 study found that more than 84 percent of Americans have had a sexual encounter in a car, and given the privacy and lack of need to have one's attention on the road, quickies between couples in vehicles could escalate, even in fleet vehicles not personally owned by its passengers. The study notes that although surveillance systems will be present in autonomous vehicles maintained by mobility services such as Waymo, it will be easy to disable to incapacitate these systems for privacy's sake before commencing intimacy.
Additionally, the study presents that autonomous vehicles could allow sex workers new ways to deal with clients. Prostitutes could uproot from red light districts and roam urban areas, making law enforcement (in regions where the practice is illegal) more difficult, and regulation (in legalized areas) trickier too.
"Sex is a part of urban tourism and commercialized sex is part of that too, so it is quite likely that autonomous vehicles will lead to prostitution, whether legal or illegal, to take place in moving autonomous vehicles in the future," said the study's leader, Scott Cohen of the University of Surrey, to NBC News.
In turn, the potential mobilization of prostitution could weaken or outright kill the "love hotel," where rooms are often rented by the hour.
Researchers don't see any of these occurring until the 2040s—if autonomous vehicles ever become a reality at all. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak expressed skepticism earlier this week as to whether self-driving cars are even possible, and as The Drive's Alex Roy has pointed out, the definition of an autonomous vehicle is still misunderstood by both the press and public at large.