A few days ago, it was reported that a couple followed the directions that Waze gave them to Niteroi, a large city located just across from Rio De Janeiro.
Normally, such reports would not seem out of place considering that people use Waze all the time to get to their destination. The reason the couple’s situation has attracted such widespread attention is because Waze provided them with wrong directions.
Inability to Distinguish Similar Names
This is because the couple wanted to travel to a specific avenue in Niteroi where tourists love flocking together. What Waze succeeded in doing was leading them to a different street, which goes by the same name, but is located in a part of the city renowned for its crime-loving nature. This would not have attracted the kind of attention that it did, if the couple made their way out of the crime-infested part of Niteroi alive. Unfortunately, they never lived to see a new day.
A woman named Regina Murmura, who was one-half of the couple in this story, was shot and killed. The worst bit is that she was a travel agent who accompanied her husband on the journey to Niteroi. Once the app led the couple along a small road in Niteroi and not the tourist-frequented part of the large city they wanted to travel to, the odds were stacked heavily against them coming out alive.
Accuracy of Information
This news has led to plenty of debating regarding the accuracy of the information that Waze provides. Although the wife died, the husband managed to escape from the scene without any injuries worthy of hospitalization. Some people opine that the case is different considering the reputation of the part of the city that the app led the couple to, saying that Waze will not always lead users astray.
However, considering the amount of trust that the users have in Waze, the app makers owe it to them to make the information as accurate as possible. In fact, Waze needs to find ways of getting accurate information from the users. This is the only way it will avoid cases such as the one that happened with the Brazilian couple who not only got lost, but also went through a horrific experience where one of them was shot and killed.
Favelas in Brazil do not enjoy great reputation. In fact, as the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro draw nearer, using GPS services to navigate one’s way in the city and all neighboring cities will continue posing a great challenge. Waze users also need to be careful and choose the exact location they want to travel to instead of placing all their trust on such types of apps. The Niteroi incident should be an eye opener.