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Apple Maps Get Drivers Stranded Down Under: Aussie Police

By Andrew Lu on December 11, 2012 11:26 AM

Stories about travelers following Apple Maps and getting lost are usually funny. However, when Apple Maps get you stranded in the middle of nowhere, with literally no food or water nearby, it may drive you to desperation.

Drivers in Australia looking for the city of Mildura were repeatedly misled by Apple Maps, which erroneously directed them to drive into the middle of Murray Sunset National Park, reports Bloomberg.

While the national park may be beautiful and a tourist destination in itself, unprepared travelers may be in for a life and death surprise. The park is extremely remote and along with the scarcity of water, temperatures there can reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

About a half-dozen drivers in Australia have become stranded in the park after following Apple's turn-by-turn directions. Some motorists were stuck for as long as a day and walked long distances to get phone reception, police told Bloomberg.

These woes add to Apple's troubles since they moved away from using competitor's Google Maps and started using their own. (The man in charge of the new Apple Maps was fired amid user complaints, Reuters reports.)

As Apple sorts out the mess, one may wonder if the company may face any liability issues for their potentially dangerous directions.

That remains to be seen. But in a somewhat similar lawsuit, a judge threw out a claim against Google by a pedestrian who was struck by a car while using Google Maps.

In that case, the pedestrian blamed Google for not warning her of the dangers of crossing a road as she followed the directions on Google Maps. It's not alleged that Google led to pedestrian to the wrong place, just that it failed to warn the pedestrian that a street crossing was not the safest. (The case was dismissed partly due to the maps' information being public information.)

Unlike the Google Maps case, Apple Maps actually played an active role in leading drivers to a potentially dangerous location, which led Australian police to warn against using the program. Apple is reportedly working to fix the problem.

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