Self-driving cars are promising change the way our cities are laid out, how we commute, and how car manufacturers sell their products. According to a report from the USA, they're also going to change sex.
Speaking with Fast Company, Scott Cohen, deputy director of research of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey, said autonomous vehicles will "provide new forms of competition for hotels and restaurants" when they arrive.
"People will be sleeping in their vehicles, which has implications for roadside hotels. And people may be eating in vehicles that function as restaurant pods,” he explained.
Cohen led a study published in the Annals of Tourism Research, looking into the impact of automation on the hotel industry. Of course, where humans can sleep, humans can also... have sex. Bonk. Bone. You get it.
“That led us to think, besides sleeping, what other things will people do in cars when free from the task of driving? And you can see that in the long association of automobiles and sex that’s represented in just about every coming-of-age movie. It’s not a big leap," Cohen said.
With that in mind, Cohen is suggesting the "sex sells" mantra will translate to the new world of autonomous vehicles – literally. Forget about scantily-clad models draped over vehicles in advertisements, and ignore Coke Bottle hips, he's suggesting cars with interiors well designed for 'doing the deed' will be popular.
“Of course sex sells,” he explained. "And there’s likely to be a capitalisation on this in terms of commercial interest.”
Commercial capitalisation can mean a number of things. It could mean car manufacturers will tailor their vehicles for sex, but it could also change the business of sex work itself.
With that, it's over to Cohen, who says autonomous vehicles could put "the red-light district" on the move in places where is prostitution is legal. Or where it isn't.
"Plenty of illegal activities happen in cars," Cohen argues. This could be a long way down the road, though, with Cohen suggesting it'll be the 2040s before autonomous sex is widespread.