I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone took this crucially important question up. And thank god they did, because we can now say with increasing certainty what you were already hoping in your heart of hearts would be the case: autonomous driving will likely usher in a golden age of boning in cars.
This makes sense. Freed from having to pay attention to where we’re going, it was only a matter of time before automotive passengers found something more constructive to do with all that extra free time. Until now, the conventional wisdom was that a lot of that time would be taken up by sleep. After all, people are already working on prototypes for roving beds that will whisk you to your destination while you catch some zzz’s.
But of course, sleep just barely scratches the surface of how these robot-driven car-beds will be eventually used, according to a new paper from researchers at the University of Surray and the University of Oxford and published in the latest issue of the Annals of Tourism. Among their many predictions, the authors raise the tantalizing possibility for “Amsterdam’s Red Light District ‘on the move’.”
There’s a few justifications for their prediction. Mainly, they think that autonomous vehicles will replace or drastically re-shape what we think of as hotels, particularly those ‘pay by the hour’ motels you may or may not have stayed in once in college because you forget to check the reviews on TripAdvisor before booking Spring Break. The authors think that these autonomous car motels will definitely be monitored for sex, drug use, and particularly violence — but they also think that these surveillance tools will be “rapidly overcome, disabled or removed.”
Autonomous driving will re-shape tourism in a lot of other notable ways, too. It’s easy to picture the bus and boat tours of the future becoming much more common and far-reaching as vehicles become fully autonomous, take to the air, and make traffic jams a thing of the past. Roving restaurants will perhaps become very common, the authors mention, and towns themselves will likely sprawl out more as it becomes considerably less important to be near where you work or near the city’s center.
But amidst this transportation revolution, it may give you some comfort to know that one thing will be consistent, at least as far as automotive decorum goes: If the autonomous van’s a rockin, don’t come a knockin’.