The rise of driverless cars is expected to displace workers, slash cab fares and give people a new place to have sex. Possibly for money.
That’s according to a new study from the Annals of Tourism Research with the deceptively dry title: “Autonomous vehicles and the future of urban tourism.”
Researchers who study hospitality and technology in the United Kingdom teamed up this year to explore how advances in automated transportation could reshape tourism around the world. They looked at about 150 studies.
Co-authors Scott Cohen and Debbie Hopkins found that autonomous vehicles have the potential to unleash far more than robot-guided Uber rides.
“It’s only a natural conclusion that sex in autonomous vehicles will become a phenomenon,” Cohen said, citing convenience and the lack of front-seat chaperones.
Once driverless cars flood the roads — Silicon Valley analysts estimate that day is less than a decade away — futurists predict that traditional taxis will phase out. Free of driver costs, companies could invest more in the customer experience. Interiors may become more spacious. Cabs could come with bedding or perhaps a massage chair, analysts forecast.
Enter “hotels-by-the-hour” on wheels, Cohen said — a fleet of rolling love dens. Tourists could summon one on yet-to-be-invented apps.
“It is just a small leap to imagine Amsterdam’s Red Light District ‘on the move,’ ’’ Cohen and Hopkins wrote in their report, to be published in January.
Of course, prostitution is illegal everywhere in the United States but a handful of counties in Nevada. Motivated lawbreakers will probably find a way around that, the authors predict.
An on-the-road brothel doesn’t defy possibility, said Missy Cummings, a mechanical engineering professor at Duke University.