Autonomous electric minibus “Heat” drives passengers through Hamburg’s Hafencity


Two months before the ITS World Mobility Congress in Hamburg, the autonomous “Heat” minibus will drive the entire test route with passengers through HafenCity. One of the first passengers on the 1.8-kilometer route was Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) on Monday. “With Heat, a new technology for autonomous driving is being integrated into Hamburg’s road traffic,” said Tschentscher. “That is a strong impetus for the development of the mobility of tomorrow.” As an alternative to having your own car, climate-friendly local public transport should be available throughout the city in the future.

The Heat project (Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation) also offers an outlook on the ITS World Congress in October, at which the mobility of the future is to be shown: This includes autonomous driving in real operation, intelligent and networked traffic control on road and rail as well as digital services, which should make mobility easier and more comfortable. In the fall, Heat had already driven a shorter route with passengers. Before that, the minibus had been tested for about two years without passengers.

Interested parties can travel along the circuit with five stops in the vehicle until the congress. The vehicle completes the lap from Sandtorkai via Sandtorpark and Kaiserkai along the Elbphilharmonie at a speed of up to 25 km / h. For safety reasons, a vehicle attendant stays on board until the ITS World Congress.

Transport Senator Anjes Tjarks (Greens): “Heat shows very well what contribution electrically powered, autonomous minibuses in inner-city quarters, but also in the outer city, could make in the future to bring people safely, comfortably and emission-free to their destination and to the existing one To connect the rapid transit network. ”

The video shows the Heat electric minibus in test operation in Hamburg.

Despite the pandemic, the project achieved all of its key objectives. The main objective is to answer the question of whether autonomous minibuses are suitable and accepted for use in local public transport. “With Heat, we are the first research project in Germany in which an autonomous bus is on the move under real traffic conditions and with the integration of a control center in the middle of a German metropolis,” said Hochbahn boss Henrik Falk.

The bus was developed by the development service provider IAV, has three seats and four standing places and is equipped with a ramp for barrier-free entry and exit. Due to the current hygiene regulations, up to three people can travel at the same time. Requirement for the ride registration via app remains as well as wearing a mask.


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