Investigations against luxury car maker BMW on suspicion of the German company cheating emission norms with the use of a software, led German prosecutors to raid the headquarters of the company.
Prosecutors said that a site of the company in Austria and the Munich based headquarters of the company were raided by around 100 police and law enforcement officials who conducted search operations on both the locations.
The suspected fraud investigations were initiated by the law enforcement agencies last month.
“There is an early suspicion that BMW has used a test bench-related defeat device,” prosecutors said.
BMW’s engine plant in Steyr was the place in Austria where search operations were carried out. That unit of the company assembles about 6,000 engines in a day and employs approximately 4,500 people there.
Similar allegations were levelled against another German car maker Volkswagen following which the company admitted to its using a “defeat device” software to cheat U.S. emission diesel engine norms and tests. That revelation had sent the company into a spiral of scandals and the largest fine in the history of the automobile industry. there was huge loss of the company at the stock markets and a number of top executives of the company were fired.
While none were regarded to the same level as that at Volkswagen, a number of car makers have bene accused of emissions irregularities since the Volkswagen incident.
Prosecutors were looking into “erroneously allocated” software in about 11,400 vehicles of the BMW 750d and BMW M550d luxury models, BMW said.
A “targeted manipulation” of emissions was not revealed by the findings, the car maker said.
In order to get the engine management software issue fixed, BMW had recalled about 11,700 cars last month.
On the other hand, Japanese car maker Toyota stopped all of its driverless cars on pubic roads after the death of a women in Arizona in the U.S. while test drive of a self-driving car of Uber Technologies.
The incident could have had an emotional impact on the test drivers and this was what the company was concerned about, Toyota said.
There was no specific timeline for the restart of the tests, said the carmaker.
Debate about premature use of autonomous vehicles have been sparked by the Arizona incident.
The autonomous driving technology can bring down road accident by eliminating distracted humans from behind the wheels as well as increase options for transportation of the elderly and the disabled, say proponents of the technology. However, critics have ben calling for more stringent government regulations for safety and claim that the technology is not ready to be introduced commercially.
“Hopefully Congress will take note and stop rushing to deploy this immature technology,” Missy Cummings, a professor of engineering at Duke University wrote on Twitter following the incident in Arizona.
Given the option, about half of all Americans would refrain from using a driverless car according to a survey by Pew Research Center last year. it also found that high levels of worried were expressed by the participants in the survey about the autonomous vehicles.
(Adapted from BBC.com)