It’s on the road – the new minibus for HEAT (Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation), Germany’s unique research and development project to integrate an autonomous shuttle bus into regular street traffic. The ambitious goal of the HEAT research and development project is to test uncharted territory: Proving that self-driving minibuses can be fully and safely integrated into street traffic and a city’s public transport system.

The HEAT minibus will be tested under real conditions in public streets and should, as planned, be capable of autonomous driving at speeds up to 50 km/h. Five meters long, weighing just under three tons, powered emission-free with electricity:
The minibus will provide space for up to ten passengers traveling through Hamburg’s HafenCity as of mid-2020. The youngest member of the Hamburg’s HOCHBAHN fleet will drive autonomously. In order to safely find its way along the test route, the minibus will communicate continuously with sensors installed along the route and with the central HOCHBAHN control center.

The minibus will begin test operations this August. With 1.8 million inhabitants, Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city. The hanseatic city is promoting state-of-the-art technologies with the aim of becoming a showroom for innovative mobility. With new innovative mobility solutions, Hamburg is demonstrating how traffic in metropolitan areas is on its way to becoming more efficient, more eco-friendly and safer.
By hosting the ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) World Congress in 2021, the city will serve as a showcase for the world’s most innovative mobility solutions. The focus here will be on innovations for modern city logistics and the use of digital technologies aimed at integrating vehicles and infrastructure, intelligent traffic control, available services, and automated driving.

In Hamburg, future mobility is not just a vision. In line with the city’s ITS strategy, more than 35 projects already explore the potential of digital trends for the transport industry today.

Hamburg is one of the first German cities to test autonomous and connected vehicles on a manufacturer-independent course right in the city centre. Other projects include smart parking sensors, traffic-light phase assistants and on-demand shuttles. Also the port develops and implements intelligent logistics solutions. At the Altenwerder Container Terminal, for example, automated guided vehicles transport the containers to designated locations. For more information on projects that will be on display at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg in 2021, please visit