Couple attacked in 'Hell Run' recommended by Google Maps

Occurred: October 2023-

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A US couple sued Google after Google Maps directed them into a South Africa ‘Hell Run’ area where they were assaulted at gunpoint and robbed.

Trying to navigate to Cape Town airport, LA-based Jason and Katharine Zoladz were directed by Google Maps into a notoriously dangerous area when they were attacked, assaulted, and robbed by an armed gang at an intersection. According to the lawsuit (pdf), Jason Zoladz was left bleeding by the roadside having had his jaw smashed by a brick. He had surgery later that day. 

The couple claimed in the suit that Google knew the ‘extreme dangers’ of the route and that it was known locally for years as the site of ‘numerous’ violent attacks on tourists by armed criminals. They also argued that Google has a responsibility to protect its users, but failed to protect or warn them of the risks of the route. 

The incident persuaded Google to re-route trips to the airport away from dangerous areas. 


Operator: Jason Zoladz, Katharine Zoladz
Developer: Alphabet/Google
Country: South Africa
Sector: Travel/hospitality
Purpose: Direct drovers
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability
Transparency: Governance


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