Electric 'self-driving' BMW test car veers into oncoming traffic leaving one dead and nine injured in mass pile-up in Germany
One person has died and nine were seriously injured after an electric and partly-automated BMW test car veered into oncoming traffic in Germany, triggering a series of collisions involving four vehicles. The electric BMW iX, which had five people on board including an 18-month-old toddler, swerved out of its lane at a bend in the road in the southwestern town of Reutlingen on Monday, 15 August 2022, brushing an oncoming Citroen. The BMW, which costs at least £77 300, then hit a Mercedes-Benz van head-on, resulting in the death of a 33-year-old woman in that vehicle.
Meanwhile, the 70-year-old driver of the Citroen lost control of her car and crashed into another vehicle with two people on board, pushing it off the road and causing it to burst into flames.
Reutlingen police spokesman Michael Schaal said four rescue helicopters were involved in the medical response and the injured were taken to several hospitals in the region. They included the 43-year-old driver of the BMW, three adults aged 31, 42 and 47, and a 18-month-old child who were all in the test vehicle.
Schaal said police hadn't yet had an opportunity to interview those involved in the crash. 'The crash vehicle was an autonomous electric test car,' police said in a statement. 'Whether it was being steered by the 43-year-old (driver) or not is the subject of investigation.'
Cops probing the cause of the crash initially said the crash involved an autonomous test vehicle and said it was unclear whether the 43-year-old BMW driver was actively steering the vehicle at the time or whether it was travelling autonomously.
BMW later confirmed that one of its test vehicles was involved but denied that the vehicle was fully autonomous.
The firm said the vehicle was equipped with its Level 2 driver assistance systems, in which case 'the driver always remains responsible'. Such systems can brake automatically, accelerate and, unlike Level 1 systems, take over steering, according to BMW's website.
The carmaker said it was in close contact with the authorities to establish the exact circumstances of the crash.
BMW confirmed that one of its test vehicles was involved in a collision near Reutlingen but denied that the vehicle was fully autonomous. BMW added that the vehicle was required to be marked as a test car for data protection purposes because it was recording footage. 'We are in the process of investigating the exact circumstances (of the crash),' BMW said. 'Of course we are in close contact with authorities.'
Source: Daily Mail