Drive Me Wild: Self-driving Cars and the Future of Sex
How autonomous vehicles will become our roving bedrooms.
Before we get to the juicy parts of this article—and, absolutely, autonomous vehicles promise a lot of sexual fun—we first need to talk about what a self-driving car is, and what it isn’t.
What’s a truly autonomous car?
While there has been a lot of press over the last few years about autonomous vehicles and their potential impact on everything from advertising to rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, what is out there now is not, technically, self-driving.
Certainly, the higher-end technologies, like those taking part in The DARPA Grand Challenge, are pretty close to not needing any kind of human operator. But there’s a huge difference between what billion-dollar labs and major universities are doing and what is actually being tested on our streets and highways.
It would be much more accurate to call them limited self-driving, or semi-autonomous, as they don’t quite have the computerized brains to deal with the reality of handling traffic, bicyclists, pedestrians, as well as other cars.
Even if the current crop of semi-autonomous vehicles did somehow become truly autonomous, it would no doubt be years, if not decades, before they’d be allowed to operate without someone behind the wheel.
When true self-driving cars do appear
It’s when real self-driving vehicles hit the road, and the law no longer requires a human operator to be present, that things are really going to change.
Trucks, more than likely, will be the first true autonomous vehicles; they will change everything about national transportation and shipping, putting thousands of people out of work. Next could very well be ride-sharing services: both Uber and Lyft are pouring millions of dollars into research, which will likely cost many if not all employed drivers their income.
But the jobs won’t be the only major change that will come from truly autonomous cars. Shipping costs will fall, the number of deaths from auto accidents will hopefully plummet, personal car ownership might become rare, and—as the current self-driving cars are electric—have far less impact on the environment.
Then there’s the fun bit. The reason you’re more-than-likely here: sex.
The portable bedroom
A few people have been vocal about the dangers of fooling around in self-driving cars. For example, Barrie Kirk, the co-founder of the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence warned that sex and autonomous vehicles were a bad combination.
To be fair, he’s right. What he was concerned about wasn’t so much the danger of sex inside of truly self-driving cars. Instead, his fears stem from people thinking their cars were truly autonomous when they’re not anything close to that, and then: taking their hands off the wheel to put them somewhere else—to be cute about it.
But when we have the technology right, when you can safely do more with your hands, that’s when all kinds of possibilities open up.
Love hotel on wheels
When you think about it, a truly autonomous vehicle is a room on wheels. You get in, you tell it where you want to go, and then it drops you off. Naturally, a lot of people are going to be bored just going along for the ride. It’s safe to assume that when we have real self-driving cars, we’ll also see fines for public masturbation. Until, that is, the designers smarten up and tint the windows.
One thing a lot of people do in any kind of room is fool around. Don’t have a lot of privacy at your place? Then hire a robot car to take you on a nice long drive with your partner of choice. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to envision these kinds of vehicles becoming a rolling version of Japanese love hotels: a roving bedroom where couples can have some privacy. It’s safe to say that many people will be losing their virginities in self-driving cars.
Imagine a highway full of autonomous vehicles, including a few with not only completely opaque windows, but also festooned with ads promoting their vibrating beds, complimentary condoms, and mini-bar.
New forms of sex
It’s even possible that there could be a new form of sexuality around these vehicles. If you can see outside but no one can see inside, we might have people who enjoy the thrill of self-pleasure while driving next to the unawares. This also brings up serious concerns about consent: if no one is aware has a crime been committed? Questions we might have to deal with as they come up—hopefully with wisdom and sensitivity.
It’s also possible that self-driving cars will change how we find sexual partners. Combine self-driving cars with something like Tinder or Grindr, and compatible couples could have a safe, and totally neutral space, for meeting up. If anyone does something non-consensual then a panic button could take the car to the nearest hospital or the police.
Dating and self-driving
On the negative side, we might see a lot more people engaging in risky sex. Not needing to stay sober to drive, or even ride the bus, it would be far too easy to hook up with someone and then recklessly jump into a robot car.
Back to positive changes, autonomous vehicles could offer those who feel unsafe taking other forms of transportation, or whose disability requires special services. Being able to summon a car that will take you anywhere you want, safely and efficiently, without judgment or comment would open a huge world to a great many people, including being able to travel to meet other people for sex or have some much-needed privacy.
A mobile playspace
It’s even possible that autonomous vehicles could become a portable sex playspace. Let’s say you want to have a good, old-fashioned orgy but don’t have the room. Hire a special bus, one with all the love hotel amenities but also very discreet on the outside, and it will go to each of your participants' houses to pick them up, and then drop them off again once the party is over.
Highways of tomorrow
We will definitely see a lot of changes when we actually have truly autonomous vehicles. Transportation, the environment, how we work, how we play, even the fundamental structures of our towns and cities. Everything will change.
And, human beings being who they are, once we have those little portable, private spaces, you know that we’ll also be seeing a lot of changes to that most basic of things: how and where we make love.