Germany’s fastest self-driving bus starts service in Hamburg

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One of Germany’s most ambitious mobility projects was launched today. With the aim to integrate an autonomous shuttle bus into regular street traffic, HEAT (Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation) is reaching its next milestone: The approval to operate a test run with passengers.

Since 23 October 2020, for the first time in Germany, an autonomous minibus is allowed to operate in public downtown streets with passengers at speeds of up to 25 km/h. From now until the end of November initially, passengers can experience HEAT for themselves. They can book rides for the autonomous shuttle via app. Operating hours are published at The HEAT app, which offers users free registration for rides, can also be downloaded there.

A mask covering the nose and mouth is required in compliance with corona regulations. Due to infection prevention measures resulting from the pandemic, the shuttle can carry up to three passengers at a time in addition to the vehicle attendant and a technical support specialist.In addition, one of four specially trained vehicle attendants as well as a technical support specialist will always be on board. For passenger operation, the autonomous shuttle bus is also equipped with an information system for passengers

One special feature of the HEAT project compared to other autonomously driving vehicles is the roadside infrastructure. It provides additional data about what is happening on the road and reports it to the shuttle – including information about vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians who are outside the field of vision of its sensors.

The autonomous minibus is completing its test drives in the HafenCity Hamburg. A spot, where new standards are being set with a Europe-wide innovative Smart Mobility concept. The project is part of the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) strategy by the Free and Hanseatic City and will be presented at next year’s ITS World Congress in Hamburg.

Hamburg: The showroom for future mobility

With 1.8 million inhabitants, Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city. It is continuing its tradition as a driving force for innovative mobility solutions. After all, the world’s very first transport association was founded in Hamburg in 1965. As host to the 2021 ITS World Congress, the Hanseatic city is once again on its way to becoming a model city for intelligent transport systems. A growing number of innovative mobility projects in Hamburg are transforming the city into a model urban environment for intelligent mobility. The City of Hamburg promotes state-of-the-art technologies to become a showroom for innovate mobility. Digital technology is important in order to make urban mobility and logistics in Hamburg safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly in the future. Therefore, central among the aims of the ‘ITS Strategy for Hamburg’ are the enhancement of traffic safety, the improvement of traffic flow, the reduction of negative environmental effects caused by traffic, and the advancement of several innovations. These goals are pursued in six focus areas: Information; Intelligent Traffic Control/Routing; Intelligent Infrastructure (Maintenance & Operation); Intelligent Parking; Mobility as a Service; and Intelligent Vehicles.