BMW iX EV involved in fatal crash, carmaker denies it was on self-drive mode
German auto giant BMW has come out with its official statement on the fatal crash involving a test unit of its BMW iX electric SUV earlier this week. The electric vehicle crashed with two other vehicles on Monday, killing one person and injuring nine others as it reportedly drifted off the road in Southwestern Germany. According to initial reports, the BMW iX was on self-drive mode when the accident took place. The electric SUV, which was also launched in India last year, comes equipped with Level 2 semi-autonomous driver assistant system.
The images and reports of the accident went viral on social media. Questions were raised about the safety standards of the self-drive system in the iX. According to local authorities in Germany, the driver of the BMW iX was traveling with four other people on board near Romerstein in the Reutlingen district. It was involved in a head-on crash with another car, while a third was also partially damaged in the incident.
Local police authorities issued a statement saying an autonomous e-test vehicle of the BMW iX type was involved in the accident. "Our statement is based on the stickers on the vehicle that this is an autonomous e-test vehicle. We are in contact with BMW and an expert is determining whether it is such a vehicle or not," said police.
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BMW has dismissed any safety concerns regarding the EV. According to a statement issued by the carmaker, "The vehicle has level 2 driver assistance systems, which are already installed in production vehicles and support the driver if desired. In level 2 vehicles, the driver always remains in responsibility. We are currently in the process of investigating the exact circumstances. Of course, we are in close contact with the authorities. One thing is already certain: The BMW vehicle involved was not an autonomous vehicle."
The Level 2 autonomous driving system helps the driver to brake and accelerate besides other assistance features like lane changing and adaptive cruise control. However, it also advises drivers to remain attentive keeping their hands on the wheel at all times.