Self-driving cars could boost the sex industry

A team of researchers from the University of Surrey have predicted that self-driving cars will lead to a boon for the sex-industry that will see pay-per-hour hotel rooms replaced by autonomous vehicles.

Nov 20, 2018
By Tony Thompson
Scott Cohen

The study titled “Autonomous vehicles and the future of urban tourism”, published in the Annals of Tourism Research states: “While SCAVs [shared, connected autonomous vehicles] will likely be monitored to deter passengers having sex or using drugs in them, and to prevent violence, such surveillance may be rapidly overcome, disabled or removed.  

“Moreover, personal CAVs will likely be immune from such surveillance. Such private CAVs may also be put to commercial use, as it is just a small leap to imagine Amsterdam’s Red Light District ‘on the move’.” 

Professor Scott Cohen, the deputy director of research at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey and lead author of the study said that approximately 50 per cent of Britons and 60 per cent of Americans have already had sex in a vehicle. 

“Sex is part of urban tourism and commercialised 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 Dr Cohen. He added that such activity was unlikely to become a reality until the 2040s at the earliest.  

It is not the first time the notion that driverless cars might enable new forms of criminality has been aired. A 2014 report compiled by the FBI suggested that criminals might commandeer autonomous vehicles and trap passengers inside until they pay a ransom. Criminals would no longer need to employ getaway drivers and, in the event of a pursuit, would have both hands free to be able to shoot back.  

The FBI report also expressed concern that, in the light of recent terrorist attacks, such vehicles could become more potentially lethal weapons than they are today.

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