A death after a self-driving BMW swerved into oncoming traffic

Nine others were injured in the four-vehicle crash (Image: AP/Getty

One person is dead and nine others are seriously injured thanks to a self-driving test car that drives into oncoming traffic, German police say.

The electric BMW iX, which was carrying five people, including a small child, collided head-on with a Mercedes van, killing one of the passengers, who was 33.

The initial accident triggered a series of further collisions involving two more vehicles, but it is unclear if it was operated manually.

A police spokesman in the southwestern city of Reutlingen said the BMW veered out of its lane on Monday at a bend in the road.

It clipped an oncoming Citroen before hitting the Mercedes.

The 70-year-old driver of the Citroen lost control of his car and crashed into another vehicle, which careened off the road and burst into flames.

It had two people on board.

The BMW iX had five people on board when it clipped an oncoming Citroen and crashed into a Mercedes van (Image: AP)

Reutlingen police spokesman Michael Schaal said four rescue helicopters were involved in the medical response and that 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 an 18-month-old child, who were all in the test vehicle.

Schaal said police had not yet had a chance to interview those involved in the crash.

It is unclear whether the person behind the wheel of the BMW test car was actively steering the vehicle at the time of the accident or whether it was driving autonomously, the spokesman said.

BMW confirmed that one of its test vehicles was involved in a collision near Reutlingen, denying that the vehicle was fully autonomous.

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“The vehicle has a level two driving assistance system that is already integrated in production vehicles today and can support the driver when needed,” the company said.

‘With level two vehicles, the driver is always in charge.’

BMW added that the vehicle had 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),” the company added.

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

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