One possible side effect of driverless cars that may not have occurred to you? An increasing number of people having sex in cars. In a new study from the Annals of Tourism Research titled "Autonomous vehicles and the future of urban tourism," researchers note that self-driving cars could ultimately become rolling hotel rooms rentable by the hour. Autonomous vehicles are expected to eventually replace traditional taxis; cab companies, no longer having to pay drivers, could instead invest in roomy interiors—perhaps roomy enough to include bedding or even, researchers suggest, massage chairs. (Volvo has already introduced the concept of a self-driving car with a sleeping pod.) "It is just a small leap to imagine Amsterdam’s Red Light District 'on the move,'" they write.
Customers could summon the rolling "rooms" via as-yet-undeveloped mobile apps, researchers suggest. "It’s only a natural conclusion that sex in autonomous vehicles will become a phenomenon," one of the study authors, a tourism professor, tells the Washington Post. If the cars are used for prostitution, of course, there will be legal ramifications as the practice is barred most everywhere in the US; the study also notes driverless taxis could be used for other illegal activities including drug use or drug dealing. And there are also less-illicit ramifications to the rise of autonomous vehicles: The study notes restaurants and hotels will have to compete with self-driving taxis that users can dine and sleep in, per a press release. Travelers may even opt to take driverless vehicles long distances rather than flying, the Telegraph reports. (Why one self-driving car is "eerie.")