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Mon, 04/02/2018 - 00:00 -- sdukbewiser

Sat nav postcode lottery: study suggests that three-quarters of street addresses don’t lead to the property they’re meant to

Mon, 02/04/2018
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Sat nav postcode lottery: study suggests that three-quarters of street addresses don’t lead to the property they’re meant to

Ever wondered why you end up driving to the wrong place even when you've entered a destination address into your car sat nav?

Rob Hull, The Mail Online, reports:

One tech firm has found the address that you've entered into a sat nav never actually leads directly to the front door of the intended home or business property.

British mapping firm what3words reckons that just 26 per cent per cent of street addresses (which could represent as many as 46million people) lead a driver directly to the correct place, and researchers are dubbing the UK's traditional addressing system as 'no longer fit for purpose'.

What3words said addresses are directing people to an inexact point outside a building or on a road, and the problem is particularly bad when trying to locate flats in a block, property in rural areas and new builds.

The technology group said a lack of pin-point location in large industrial estates is also causing headaches for delivery drivers and customers relying on their navigation systems, either build into the car, removable or on smart devices.

Even using a postcode is little to no help for motorists.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of sat nav users in the UK, Germany and US polled said a correctly entered postcode had worryingly taken them to the wrong place entirely.

And the issue is even more problematic when it came to directing others to their front door.

Almost three quarters of the 1,000 UK residents surveyed (74 per cent) say that deliveries, services and visitors struggle to find their homes or businesses.  

Additionally, well over half (57 per cent) of the people quizzed said they have had to take phone calls from couriers, takeaway food delivery firms and taxis who can't find their home or place of work.

what3words estimated last year that a more exact address system would have saved around £40 billion in delivery costs last year.

One in five said they always have to provide extra information in regards to giving out directions to explain to others how to reach them with 9 per cent having to draw a map for their visitors.

Chris Sheldrick, CEO and co-founder of what3words, said the UK needs to act now and move to a more accurate address system to ready itself for journeys made in driverless cars and drone deliveries that experts estimate will become mainstream in a decade's time.

The brand has already created a mapping system that is specific to a three-metre by three-metre square anywhere in the world and given that location its own three-word address.

'When our current addressing system was first built, it wasn’t designed for a future of drone deliveries and hailing autonomous taxis,' Sheldrick said.

'Technology is rapidly taking over the world in which we live, and our addresses are no longer fit for purpose.

'This isn’t just a problem of the future: it’s a problem now.

'We’ve all felt the frustration of having a lukewarm pizza turn up at the door because it’s taken so long for the delivery driver to find us, or of being lost despite the sat nav telling us ‘you have arrived at your destination'.

'If so many of us experience problems with location data today, imagine the chaos inexact addressing will cause in autonomous cars when you won’t be able to explain in more detail where you want it to go in the same way as you can with a driver.'

Almost half (48 per cent) of the 2,000-strong poll panel said that they would benefit from a more accurate addressing system, and just over a quarter would be open to trying a completely new form of address.

Since the current postcode system was introduced to the UK in 1959, population levels have exploded making it more difficult to track a specific location using the combination of letters and numbers.

And the issue is likely to worsen, as urban populations across the world are expected to triple in the next 40 years.

'The humble postcode-based address has become increasingly inadequate, a problem exacerbated by the fact that many UK street names are far from unique,' what3words said.

'There are, for example, 34 Victoria Roads in London alone.’

Whilst sat navs certainly have made travelling to unknown and unfamiliar destinations much more accessible to drivers, it’s important to understand their limitations and that reading the roads it just as important as listening to the sat nav, if not more so.

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