Customers of a robotaxi service in San Francisco have reportedly used the driverless vehicles for sexual encounters while traveling to their destinations. This revelation comes from a report that has garnered significant attention in the United States. The San Francisco Standard interviewed four different people in the city who claimed to have engaged in sexual activity in one of Cruise’s autonomous vehicle robotaxis in recent months, with some of them doing so on multiple occasions.
This activity reportedly occurred despite the vehicles being equipped with internal cameras and microphones for passenger safety monitoring. Cruise states on its website, “We record video inside the car for added safety and support. If something happened during your ride, we could review the recording to better understand what occurred. We only record audio during active support calls.” A 2018 study by Scott Cohen and Debbie Hopkins in the Annals of Tourism Research had predicted that passengers might use robotaxis for sexual encounters.
Just last week, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to approve Cruise and Waymo’s robotaxis for 24-hour operation. This decision will make San Francisco the first major city in the United States with two competing fleets of driverless vehicles, competing against human-driven transportation services and taxis.