- Once fully self-driving cars are prevalent, the time we used to spend driving can be filled with other activities.
- Researchers from the Universities of Surrey and Oxford examined their effect on urban tourism and nightlife.
- Their paper says hotels-by-the-hour could be replaced by self-driving cars, like a roving red-light district.
Roving brothels could be the new norm once fully self-driving cars hit the streets, according to new research into their effect on the future of urban tourism.
“Hotels-by the hour are likely to be replaced by connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs),” Scott Cohen and Debbie Hopkins write in the Annals of Tourism Research journal for publication in January 2019. “This will have implications for urban tourism, as sex plays a central role in many tourism experiences.”
Fast Company first reported on the paper this week. Without the need for actual driving – or a steering wheel, pedals, and everything involved – autonomous cars have more room for other activities, from roving restaurants to bars or hotels.
Of course, with connection comes surveillance, and most owners or operators of the cars will probably have security in place through cameras or other monitoring, the researchers point out. However, they say “such surveillance may be rapidly overcome, disabled or removed.”
“Moreover, personal CAVs will likely be immune from such surveillance,” they say. “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.'”
This is only the beginning of research into how autonomous cars could affect tourism, as most research has gone into their effect on traffic and commuting. Still, the paper’s authors hope their work “contributes a foundation and starting point for a new empirical sub-field in tourism research, centered on CAV innovations and the tourism system.”
How exactly self-driving cars will use the interior space once things necessary for human driving are obsolete is unclear, and the paper’s authors are quick to recognise that. Instead, they say “these very uncertainties offer timely, interesting and important opportunities for scholars to reconceptualise the urban in tourism studies, and to delve into the inner workings of urban life and urban tourism to contribute to discourses of urban futures.”