Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are set to transform the face of urban tourism, according to a new study.

A study by academics from the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford, published in the Annals of Tourism Research, discusses the pros and cons offered by its potential impact. Restaurants and hotels could see competition, for example, from ‘AV dining cars and passengers sleeping in their moving vehicles’; while AVs may hit demand for public transport and lead to job losses.

 

“This groundbreaking study will benefit urban planners, policy makers and the tourism and hospitality industries, who will face a range of threats and opportunities as AVs begin to reach the mass market in the coming decade,” said Professor Cohen, Head of Tourism and Transport at Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “The visitor economy will be gradually transformed if AVs become fully automated and mainstream, leading to a future where hordes of small AVs could congest urban attractions, hop-on hop-off city bus tours may go out of business altogether, motorways between cities could fill at night with slow-moving AVs carrying sleeping occupants and commercial sex in moving AVs becomes a growing phenomenon.”