Satnav confuses in Scottish race

July 11, 2008 at 7:56 PM
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GLASGOW, Scotland, July 11 (UPI) -- A Scottish competition involving satellite automobile navigation technology suggests the system is less reliable than maps or even asking locals for directions.

The competition -- which involved teams navigating a 989-mile path through Scotland from Land's End to John O'Groats -- ended with a team relying solely on road signs and advice from locals arriving at their destination first, followed by a team using only roadmaps, The Scotsman reported Friday.

The team using a satnav system came in a distant third -- also known, in this case, as last place -- 90 minutes behind the second place vehicle.

The satnav team said they were hampered by the tool's reference to non-existent routes and insistence on taking detours to dead end streets and slow country lanes.

"In Glasgow, it made frequent attempts to make us turn right down streets where cars weren't actually allowed," said Simon Hemelryk, the satnav car driver.

Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the Automobile Association, said satnavs can be useful tools, but drivers should be wary of over-reliance.

"Unfortunately, many drivers become slaves to their satnavs -- turning sharp right onto railway lines, rivers and, in one instance, a toilet on a German building site," he said.

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