Officials say a tractor trailer driver is blaming his GPS after he plowed through a public park Tuesday, heavily damaging two historic bridges in Milwaukee
So here we are again, a driver ignores signs on the road saying this is for pedestrians and a cycle path and drives on through until his truck is totally stuck and blames the GPS. If you follow my blog you will find countless stories like this. The BMW that drove down steps into a canal, people who drive into the sea, the list is endless and the occurrence frequent.
Now there is a slight risk that his nav did show the cycle and pedestrian bridge as a road, in which case we have the answer as to why we have drivers to interpret what they see through the window and signs that tell them what they are seeing in case they still don’t get it, hence the reason the driver was charged and the would have had an interesting discussion with his boss.
However, here’s the rub:
1. Not all navigation systems are equal and have quality maps for all of the country. They are only as good as their data source and the effort that is put into creating and maintaining the map. Having been in a company that makes maps for 8 years, I know exactly how hard it is to maintain high quality, spatially accurate and current maps. I know what that costs. We lost clients who wanted to sell sub $100 complete car nav units with free lifetime map updates, competing on price instead of quality. We couldn’t provide them with maps and stay in business, for what they wanted to pay. So they went elsewhere to cheaper maps. I have to tell you there are consequences to these decisions.
2. What if you have driver-less cars, using maps that show cycle paths as roads, or using navigation systems with sub par maps. The manufacturer or owner may have purchased the system in good faith, just as consumers today buy sub $100 navigation systems with lifetime free maps thinking they will get high quality data for the entire country, urban and rural and it isn’t high quality data? As they say in the computer industry, GIGO or Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Have you bought a cheap nav unit? Ever had it give you information that could have got you into trouble if you hadn’t correctly interpreted the data combined with what you saw through your windscreen? I’d welcome your feedback and stories.
Footnote: If you said yes to the question about the driver-less car with cheap nav. Now imagine your wonderful children in that driver-less car with the cheap maps.