Apple Maps steers oblivious motorists onto airport runway

first_imgThere aren’t many app developers that can claim to be dealing with matters of life and death when they publish an update, but the coders and engineers behind Apple’s Maps app certainly can. The embattled Google Maps alternative is just starting to shrug off the stigma of past problems, but this week it had another high-profile bug: it steered unwary motorists onto an airport runway.To be fair, navigating airport motorways can be unquestionably confusing — that’s why people turn to mapping applications to keep them on the right track. The trust people put in those apps is often blind, however: drivers headed for the Fairbanks Airport in Alaska followed the Apple Maps directions so closely that they ended up driving down an airplane taxiway and even across a runway.The town of Mildura was briefly a sort of desert Bermuda Triangle, but only for Apple Maps users.The airport immediately contacted the Attorney General’s office and requested a total shutdown of the service for their area — better people miss their flights entirely than end up crushed by them. There is, of course, the question of why multiple vehicles were able to wander into the airport’s most sensitive thoroughfares; even leaving threats of terrorism aside, that seems supremely unsafe.This is certainly not the time Apple wanted to be dealing with more damaging PR for their mapping solution. Soon after the tech giant made their own app the mandatory default mapping solution, reports began to come in of travelers guided to the wrong location or sent hours off course. One tech writer began reporting from suburbia while his speaking engagement came and went miles away. The Australian authorities even issued a warning to avoid using the app for directions in remote desert areas after several travelers were stranded and required rescue.Google Maps itself had some problems early in its life-cycle, but people were not so ready to trust a blue line on a satellite map back then — and its problems have tended to be smaller in scope, regardless. Mislabeling highways can be annoying, but tends not to lead travelers hours away from their destinations.Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology for causing customers “frustration” and pledged to improve the app’s accuracy in the future. As to Fairbanks Airport, they promised to update the directions within the week.last_img

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *