Sex tourism on the road to surge with autonomous cars, study claims

16 Nov 2018

Image: © Mike Mareen/

A recent study claims autonomous cars will result in a new era of sex tourism, but not until around 2040.

Earlier this week in the internet of things (IoT) world, Hitachi Vantara CTO Bill Schmarzo revealed his predictions for the future of the technology, believing that it will open up a whole new range of security vulnerabilities.

The so-called ‘dean of big data’ was in Dublin for the National Analytics Conference 2018 hosted by the Analytics Institute of Ireland and he spoke to about IoT, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

We also learned that Canadian smartphone technology player BlackBerry agreed to acquire AI and infosec player Cylance for $1.4bn in cash in order to bolster its new focus as a enterprise security player in IoT.

Study claims sex on the road will increase with autonomous cars

If autonomous cars become the norm in a few decades, researchers publishing to the Annals of Tourism Research journal predict that intimacy between passengers will skyrocket as they have more free time – and less responsibilities – on their hands.

Speaking to Euronews, Scott Cohen, the deputy director of research of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey who led the research, unsurprisingly said that “this is something that seems to have stimulated interest”.

He and his team examined a number of papers on autonomous vehicles and smart cities to identify future trends from the perspective of how these vehicles will affect tourism.

With one survey noting that 60pc of Americans said they had at one point had sex in a car, Cohen said that the advent of autonomous vehicles could push this out further to not only include couples, but make it a new frontier for sex tourism by 2040.

“Sex is a part of urban tourism and commercialised sex is part of that too, so it is quite likely that autonomous vehicles will lead to prostitution, whether legal or illegal, to take place in moving autonomous vehicles in the future,” he said.

Vehicle-based payments to surge financial IoT value

Juniper Research conducted a study which found that the IoT payments market will grow at an average of 75pc per annum over the next five years, reaching $410bn by 2023. This is up from an estimated $24.5bn in 2018 with the biggest growth coming from in-vehicle payments.

By 2021, transactions made in connected vehicles will account for 55pc of the overall financial IoT market totalling $63bn. This compares with a little more than $50bn for smart speakers and TVs. However, the study found that car-based spend will mostly be payments for fuel and tolls, with little increase in spend overall.

This complements other research the market analysis firm published which found that the IoT-enabled insurance market will exceed $334bn by 2023.

UK military to use AI to track global radar systems

The UK military is now working with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) to use new AI technology to track multiple radar sites across the globe. The Moonlight system uses machine learning algorithms to gather vital data and updates on the position of more than 10,000 radars every day.

DSTL claims that this method saves 32,000 hours of manual analytical effort each month and is already helping to improve planning and post-event analysis of UK-supported joint maritime, land and air missions.

“Moonlight data is fused with other sources to provide situational awareness as well indications and warnings to deployed frontline units,” said Jamie Thomas, a warrant officer with the Royal Navy. “This is critical to support the decision-making process and is key to providing success on operations on a daily basis.”

The US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have all expressed an interest in using Moonlight and DSTL is now designing a version for NATO.

Bosch unveils new device that taps into Iota Data Marketplace

Engineering and electronics giant Bosch announced it was releasing a new device called the Bosch XDX that it described in a blog post as “a programmable sensor device and IoT prototyping platform”.

The device was launched in partnership with Iota, which provides a decentralised data marketplace to allow companies, start-ups or whoever to trade in active data streams. The Bosch XDX device is designed with a number of different sensor, data storage and network technologies which collect data that can be sold on the Iota Marketplace.

The company said that, until now, there was no open-source code available to link the device and Iota, but it can do so now using Iota’s Masked Authenticated Messaging platform.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic