HEAT (Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation) is the name of the research and development project with which the Hanseatic city wants to show that autonomously driving electric minibuses can be used for local public transport. The deadline is 2021, when Hamburg will host the ITS World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems . With the Hochbahn (elevated railway) , there are even plans to "make private car usage completely redundant, at least in inner cities," as CEO Henrik Falk said at the start of the project in early June. In addition to the Hamburg-based transport company, which is managing the project, partners include the Berlin-based IAV GmbH Ingenieurgesellschaft Auto und Verkehr (buses), Siemens (roadside infrastructure, software solutions and integration), hySolutions GmbH (coordination and success control) and the Institute of Transportation Systems DLR (accompanying research), the Institute for Climate Protection , Energy and Mobility (operator and business models) and, of course, the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg itself.
The minibus equipped with a wheelchair ramp, which will initially drive its 3.6 km test round in the HafenCity with human assistance, is approx. 5 m long and seats up to sixteen passengers. Vattenfall will take care of recharging the batteries; according to specifications, maximum speed will be 50 km/h. The buses will navigate using cameras, radar, and lidar and communicate via a digital infrastructure and sensors that Siemens will install along the route. While the first test drives are scheduled for the beginning of 2019, the first passengers will foreseeably board the buses in the spring - free of charge.