A recent fatal crash in Germany involved four vehicles, one of which was an all-new BMW iX electric SUV. The crash killed one person and left many others seriously injured. BMW has come forward to claim that while it was initially reported that the iX was an autonomous test vehicle, the crossover wasn't actually a self-driving car.
The police on the scene shared that the BMW iX was a self-driving car that was out testing. The authorities reportedly went so far as to suggest that they weren't sure a driver was actually steering the vehicle prior to the crash. However, BMW responded with information claiming that was not true.
The iX reportedly lost control twice, eventually heading into oncoming traffic. The incident occurred on the B28 federal road near Roemerstein on Monday 15 August 2022. When the iX crossed into the opposite lane, it crashed with two other vehicles, which caused a fourth collision.
The 43-year-old driver of the BMW iX and his 18-month-old passenger were both seriously injured along with seven other people. Sadly, a 33-year-old woman was killed in the crash. The police have launched an investigation into the crash, as well as the situation surrounding the BMW iX autonomous test vehicle.
BMW has officially confirmed that the iX involved in the crash had no self-driving capabilities. Instead, the vehicle has typical Level 2 advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS). Level 2 systems require the driver to remain alert and responsible for the vehicle at all times.
While BMW has made it clear the iX only has Level 2 systems and the driver would be at fault, the car can accelerate and brake on its own. BMW said the iX doesn't have the ability to take over the steering of the vehicle.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out since we'll likely be seeing similar situations going forward. Tesla says its Autopilot technology is a Level 2 system, and it is often initially to blame for accidents involving Tesla's vehicles. However, it may have more capabilities than BMW's technology in the iX. Regardless of the brand or the tech, the driver must remain attentive and responsible for the vehicle's behaviour at all times.