Electric self-driving BMW test car veers into oncoming traffic leaving one dead in Germany

Electric self-driving BMW test car veers into oncoming traffic leaving one dead and nine injured in mass pile-up in Germany

  • BMW iX swerved out of its lane in Reutlingen and brushed oncoming Citroen
  • The electric BMW then hit a Mercedes-Benz van head-on, resulting in the death of a 33-year-old passenger in that vehicle on Monday afternoon, police said 
  • The 70-year-old driver of the Citroen lost control of her car and crashed into another vehicle with two people on board, causing it to burst into flames

One person has died and nine were seriously injured after an electric self-driving BMW test car veered into oncoming traffic in Germanytriggering 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, brushing an oncoming Citroen.

The BMW then hit a Mercedes-Benz van head-on, resulting in the death of a 33-year-old passenger 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.

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, brushing an oncoming Citroen. Pictured: File image of the BMW iX series

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, brushing an oncoming Citroen. Pictured: File image of the BMW iX series

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.’

BMW confirmed that one of its test vehicles was involved in a collision near Reutlingen, but denied that the vehicle was fully autonomous.

‘The vehicle has a level 2 driving assistance system that is already incorporated in production vehicles today and which can support the driver on demand,’ the company said. ‘With level 2 vehicles the driver always retains responsibility.’

BMW added that the vehicle, which costs at least £77,300, 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.’

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