https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11115969/Electric-self-driving-BMW-test-car-veers-oncoming-traffic-leaving-one-dead-Germany.html

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

  • Partly automated BMW iX test car swerved out of its lane in Reutlingen and brushed oncoming Citroen
  • The BMW then hit a Mercedes-Benz van head-on, resulting in the death of a 33-year-old woman in that vehicle
  • 70-year-old Citroen driver lost control of her car and crashed into another vehicle with two people on board
  • BMW confirmed the crash involved one of its models with Level 2 driver assistance systems. Such systems can brake automatically, accelerate and, unlike Level 1 systems, take over steering

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One person has died and nine were seriously injured after an electric and partly-automated 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, 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.

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 BMW then hit a Mercedes-Benz van head-on (pictured), 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

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 driver of the Citroen (in the background) crashed into another vehicle, causing it to

The driver of the Citroen (in the background) crashed into another vehicle

One person died and nine were seriously injured after the electric self-driving BMW test car veered into oncoming traffic in Germany

One person died and nine were seriously injured after the electric self-driving BMW test car veered into oncoming traffic in Germany

BMW’s autonomous driving tech

An 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.

BMW confirmed that the crash had involved one of its models and that the vehicle was equipped with Level 2 driver assistance systems. In such cases ‘the driver always remains responsible’, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Such systems can brake automatically, accelerate and, unlike Level 1 systems, take over steering, according to BMW’s website.

The driver must ‘remain in control of the car and must always pay attention to traffic’, the website adds. 

In comparison, in a Level 4 driver assistance system, the car provides fully autonomous driving. 

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The carmaker said it was in close contact with the authorities to establish the exact circumstances of the crash.

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.

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.’

There have been a series of crashes in recent years involving self-driving cars. 

In 2018, one of Uber’s Volvo test cars struck and killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk in Tempe, Arizona. 

Police said Uber’s backup driver in the autonomous Volvo SUV was streaming the television show ‘The Voice’ on her phone and looking downward before crash.

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. Pictured: The remains of the BMW car which crashed into a van head-on

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. Pictured: The remains of the BMW car which crashed into a van head-on 

Schaal said police hadn't yet had an opportunity to interview those involved in the crash

Schaal said police hadn’t yet had an opportunity to interview those involved in the crash

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

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

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

The National Transportation Safety Board said the autonomous driving system on the Volvo spotted Herzberg about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled.

A Volvo emergency braking system also had been turned off.

In July, US regulators announced they were investigating the death of a woman who was struck by a Tesla driver, 39, who was reportedly high on drugs and driving on Autopilot when the car went airborne and hit her.

A 39-year-old man was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs in the incident.

The case is believed to have involved Frank Shoaf, who was high from huffing – inhaling household items – while driving on Othello Avenue around 8.30am. He admitted to police that he had run the red light, hit a dip, which caused him to go airborne two feet, before he hit Cassandra May, 40.

In July, US regulators announced they were investigating the death of a woman who was struck by a Tesla driver, 39, who was reportedly high on drugs and driving on Autopilot when the car went airborne and hit her. Pictured: The Tesla

In July, US regulators announced they were investigating the death of a woman who was struck by a Tesla driver, 39, who was reportedly high on drugs and driving on Autopilot when the car went airborne and hit her. Pictured: The Tesla 

The case is believed to have involved Frank Shoaf, who was high from huffing - inhaling household items - while driving on Othello Avenue around 8.30am. Pictured: The car after the crash

The case is believed to have involved Frank Shoaf, who was high from huffing – inhaling household items – while driving on Othello Avenue around 8.30am. Pictured: The car after the crash

Shoaf, pictured, admitted to police that he had run the red light, hit a dip, which caused him to go airborne two feet, before he hit Cassandra May, 40

Shoaf, pictured, admitted to police that he had run the red light, hit a dip, which caused him to go airborne two feet, before he hit Cassandra May, 40

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US has opened more than 35 special crash investigations involving Tesla vehicles in which advanced driver assistance systems like Autopilot were suspected of being used since 2016.

Earlier this year, a 66-year-old Tesla driver and a 67-year-old passenger died in Florida after the car rear-ended a tractor-trailer. 

The NHTSA typically opens more than 100 special crash investigations annually into emerging technologies and other potential auto safety issues that have, for instance, previously helped to develop safety rules on air bags.

A 2015 Tesla rear-ended a tractor-trailer in the Gainesville area at a rest area off Interstate 75, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a police report. Both people in the Tesla were pronounced dead at the scene.

In Florida, on May 7 2016, Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, died when cameras in his Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the right white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky.  

In Florida, on May 7 2016, Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, (pictured top left) died when cameras in his Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the right white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky

In Florida, on May 7 2016, Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, (pictured top left) died when cameras in his Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the right white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky

And on March 23 2018, in Mountain View, California, Apple software engineer Walter Huang, 38, died in a crash on U.S. Highway 101 with the Autopilot on his Tesla engaged. 

The vehicle accelerated to 71 mph seconds before crashing into a freeway barrier, federal investigators found. 

The NTSB, in a preliminary report on the crash, also said that data shows the Model X SUV did not brake or try to steer around the barrier in the three seconds before the crash in Silicon Valley. 

And on March 23 2018, in Mountain View, California, Apple software engineer Walter Huang, 38, died in a crash on U.S. Highway 101 with the Autopilot on his Tesla engaged. Pictured: The crash scene

And on March 23 2018, in Mountain View, California, Apple software engineer Walter Huang, 38, died in a crash on U.S. Highway 101 with the Autopilot on his Tesla engaged. Pictured: The crash scene 

Walter Huang, pictured with his wife Sevonne, had previously complained about his SUV's Autopolit system malfunctioning before it veered into a concrete barrier on a California freeway

Walter Huang, pictured with his wife Sevonne, had previously complained about his SUV’s Autopolit system malfunctioning before it veered into a concrete barrier on a California freeway

On March 1 2019, in Delray, Florida, Jeremy Banner, 50, died when his 2018 Tesla Model 3 slammed into a semi-truck.

Banner’s car shot underneath the truck at 68mph and had its roof torn off. The married father-of-three was pronounced dead at the scene.

NTSB investigators said Banner turned on the autopilot feature about 10 seconds before the crash, and the autopilot did not execute any evasive maneuvers to avoid the crash. 

On March 1 2019, in Delray, Florida, Jeremy Banner, 50, died when his 2018 Tesla Model 3 slammed into a semi-truck. Pictured: The Tesla after the crash

On March 1 2019, in Delray, Florida, Jeremy Banner, 50, died when his 2018 Tesla Model 3 slammed into a semi-truck. Pictured: The Tesla after the crash

Meanwhile, last year, on April 17, in Houston, Texas, a Tesla smashed into a tree and burst into flames in Texas, resulting in the deaths of two men- the car’s owner Doctor William Varner, and his pal Everette Talbot.   

Officers said that there was no one in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash in The Woodlands neighbourhood of Houston.

But Tesla had refuted police’s claims, saying a deformed steering wheel suggested that someone was likely in the driver’s seat. 

Varner, 59, and Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S  – bought second-hand off eBay in January – smashed into a tree and burst into flames. 

Everette Talbot (pictured)

Dr William Varner (pictured)

Meanwhile, last year, on April 17, in Houston, Texas, a Tesla smashed into a tree and burst into flames in Texas, resulting in the deaths of two men- the car’s owner Doctor William Varner, and his pal Everette Talbot

The remains of a Tesla vehicle, pictured, are seen after it crashed in The Woodlands, Texas, April 17, 2021, killing Everette Talbot and Dr William Varner

The remains of a Tesla vehicle, pictured, are seen after it crashed in The Woodlands, Texas, April 17, 2021, killing Everette Talbot and Dr William Varner

Varner, 59, and Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S - bought second-hand off eBay in January - smashed into a tree and burst into flames. Pictured: The car after the crash

Varner, 59, and Talbot, 69, both died in the fatal crash when the Tesla Model S – bought second-hand off eBay in January – smashed into a tree and burst into flames. Pictured: The car after the crash

Elsewhere, on May 5, 2021, in Los Angeles, California, Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, pictured, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi-truck at about 2.30am on May 5 2021

Elsewhere, on May 5, 2021, in Los Angeles, California, Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, pictured, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi-truck at about 2.30am on May 5 2021 

Elsewhere, on May 5, 2021, in Los Angeles, California, Steven Michael Hendrickson, 35, was killed when his white Tesla Model 3 struck an overturned semi-truck at about 2.30am on May 5. 

Before his death, the married father of two posted social media videos of himself riding in the electric vehicle without his hands on the wheel or foot on its pedal.

One video on his Instagram account showed him riding in the driver’s seat without his hands on the wheel or foot on the pedal as the Tesla navigated freeway traffic.

The video included the comment: ‘Best carpool buddy possible even takes the boring traffic for me.’

The crash happened on the 210 Freeway near Fontana, California – about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. 

A preliminary investigation determined that the Tesla’s partially automated driving system called Autopilot ‘was engaged’ prior to the crash.  

A spokesman added that no final conclusion had been reached on what exactly had caused the fatal crash – the 29th involving a Tesla to have been probed by federal agency the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The Mack truck, which the Tesla collided with, had crashed and overturned just five minutes earlier, blocking two lanes of the highway, according to a highway patrol report. 

The wreckage of the white Tesla Model 3 is seen in aerial footage after Mr Hendrickson died in the crash in Los Angeles, California

The wreckage of the white Tesla Model 3 is seen in aerial footage after Mr Hendrickson died in the crash in Los Angeles, California 

 

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