One dead after self-driving BMW swerves into oncoming traffic

Nine other people were injured in the four-vehicle crash (Photo: AP/Getty

Nine other people were injured in the four-vehicle crash (Photo: AP/Getty

One person has died and nine others are seriously injured due to a self-driving test car swerving into oncoming traffic, according to German police.

The electric BMW iX, which was carrying five people including a young child, crashed head-on into a Mercedes van, killing one of its 33-year-old passengers.

The initial accident triggered a series of additional collisions involving two other vehicles, but it is unclear whether it was manually operated.

A police spokesman for the town of Reutlingen in the south-west of the country said the BMW left its lane on Monday at a bend in the road.

He cut off an oncoming Citroën before hitting the Mercedes.

The 70-year-old driver of the Citroën lost control of her car and hit another vehicle, which veered off the road and burst into flames.

There were two people on board.

The BMW iX had five people on board when it cut off an oncoming Citroën and crashed into a Mercedes van (Picture: AP)

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 area.

They included the 43-year-old driver of the BMW, three adults aged 31, 42 and 47 and an 18-month-old child, all of whom were in the test vehicle.

Mr Schaal said police have not yet had a chance to interview those involved in the accident.

It is unclear whether the person driving the BMW test car was actively steering the vehicle at the time of the accident or whether it was moving on its own, the spokesperson said.

BMW has confirmed that one of its test vehicles was involved in an accident near Reutlingen and denied that the vehicle was fully self-driving.

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“The vehicle has a level two driver assistance system that is already integrated into production vehicles today and can assist the driver on demand,” the company said.

“With level two vehicles, the driver still retains responsibility.”

BMW added that the vehicle should be marked as a test car for data protection purposes, as it recorded images.

“We are investigating the exact circumstances (of the accident),” the company added.

“Of course we are in close contact with the authorities.”

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