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BMW Electric Test Car Involved In Fatal Crash

One person died and nine were seriously injured in a series of collisions involving four vehicles, police in Germany said.

BMW has confirmed that one of its test car models was involved in a fatal crash on a German highway. However, the company has denied the claim that it was a self-driving vehicle.

“With level two vehicles the driver always retains responsibility,” it added.

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

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.

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At the time, Schaal stated that it was unclear whether the driver at the wheel of the BMW test car was actively steering the vehicle at the time of the crash.

“We are in the process of investigating the exact circumstances [of the crash],” BMW said. “Of course, we are in close contact with authorities.”

Currently, fully driverless cars are not legally permitted in the UK. However, autonomous features are being developed by car makers and tested in specific trials such as a bus service in Scotland, and earlier this year the UK Transport Select Committee announced it had opened an investigation into the potential of autonomous cars. 

In preparation for the arrival of this technology, UK authorities are expected to make changes to the Highway Code to ensure insurance companies rather than individuals are liable for claims resulting from crashes involving these vehicles. 

According to the Department for Transport, autonomous driving is expected to improve road safety by reducing human error, which has been identified as the cause of 88 per cent of all traffic accidents.


Source: E&T

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