Tags: apple | maps | drivers | airport | taxiway

Apple Maps Steers Drivers to Airport Taxiway in Alaska

Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 09:45 AM

By Megan Anderle

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If you rely too heavily on Apple maps, you could end up in a dangerous situation.

This was the lesson a few drivers learned in Alaska, after crossed an airport runway and drove to the airport ramp on the passenger side of the terminal. In two cases, which occurred in the past three weeks, drivers were merely trying to reach the entrance of Fairbanks airport.

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The turn-by-turn directions took the drivers onto Taxiway Bravo, a direct shot across the main runway to the terminal, according to the Alaska Dispatch.

The drivers disregarded signs and a gate that indicated they were headed in the wrong direction, instead putting full trust in their Apple devices to bring them to their intended destination.

“These folks drove past several signs. They even drove past a gate. None of that cued them that they did something inappropriate,” Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the Fairbanks airport, told the Alaska Dispatch.

The first incident involved an out-of-state visitor trying to return a rental car before a flight, and the second was an Alaska resident trying to get to the airport, according to the Associated Press.

Once the control tower and airport personnel noticed the cars, the people were safely escorted away.

Marketing Director Angie Spear said the incidents show how much blind faith drivers place in their smart phones’ instructions.

“No matter what the signs say, the map on their iPhone told them to proceed this way,” Spear said.

The turn-by-turn directions led the drivers the same route pilots use to get to the East Ramp, on the other side of the main terminal. While the directions instructed the drivers to go to Taxiway Bravo, they did not tell the drivers to cross the main runway. But once they reached the taxiway, the drivers instinctually went toward the terminal, according to the Alaska Dispatch.

Airport staff complained through the attorney general’s office to Apple on Sept. 6, when the first incident happened, Spear said. Airport officials asked that Apple disable the map for Fairbanks until they could fix it.

Reports from the Apple legal department said the maps glitch would be fixed promptly.

But on Sept. 20, the same thing happened again.

The airport has since closed the aircraft access route to Taxiway Bravo from the Float Pond Road; notices have been issued to pilots to look for stray drivers, and barricades have been put in place.

This isn't the first time Apple maps has led drivers horribly astray. Drivers attempting to get to Mildura, Australia have been led to Murray Sunset National Park, nearly 50 miles from Mildura, and some have driven around the forest for as long as 24 hours without water or food, according to police. Police have told residents to avoid the app altogether.

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Related stories:

Apple CEO Cook 'Extremely Sorry' for iPhone Maps Errors, Suggests Rival Services

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