A delegation accompanying Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics opted for environment-friendly means of travel Monday after cycling or walking to the Ministry of for Economics, Transport and Innovation and then travelling on two Hochbahn e-buses. Later, CleverShuttle and the MOIA bus, which began operating in Hamburg on April 15, 2019, provided the means of transport.
Overcoming borders with technology and research
Their agenda included examples of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, 3D printing, opportunities of Industry 4.0 and the future of work in action. “We want to inspire you and show you what Hamburg has to offer in the areas of the future, technology, research and innovation. We want to bring you into contact with innovative start-ups, ambitious and creative founders and their ideas. And we want to motivate you to cross borders,” said Westhagemann.
The buses transporting 50 top representatives of business, science and administration stopped in Finkenwerder, Harburg, Eppendorf and Speicherstadt. The use of hydrogen was high on the agenda at ZAL Centre of Applied Aeronautical Research in Finkenwerder where industry and science link up under the theme “R&D under one roof. “The potential of hydrogen has been completely underestimated so far,” said Westhagemann.
Production 4.0 – man and machine complement each other
Together with Roland Gerhards, CEO of ZAL, visitors toured Europe’s largest acoustics laboratory, where work is underway on minimizing aircraft noise for passengers. During a keynote, Gerhards explained the importance of AI, robotics and 3D printing for production and outlined fields of application in aviation. Then, the start-ups presented their innovative business models. David Küstner of Synergeticon explained his sophisticated assistance system for factory workers, which has been used mainly in the aviation industry until now. Hamburg’s proximity to numerous aviation players makes it an ideal location for Synergeticon, he noted.
Hamburg Innovation and Fraunhofer CML
“I’m delighted that the tour is going to the south of Hamburg because there’s so much going on here,” said Martin Mahn, Managing Director of Hamburg Innovation GmbH. The guests met founders from the Harburg-based Start-up Dock with ideas such as a digital assistant doctor or sustainable business concepts focusing on bio-cosmetics without micro plastics. The recently launched beyourpilot platform for knowledge-based start-ups was also presented. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics in Harburg are researching the the port of the future and when the first tugboat might sail unmanned through the Port of Hamburg and many other topics.
AI revolutionizing healthcare
The LifeScience Nord focuses on developing personalized methods and therapies for autoimmune diseases. This is where Indivumed, Sysmex Inostics, 2cureX and Topas Therapeutics outlined their business models. The four companies have matured beyond the initial idea and now have products which are already proving successfully on the international market. “Hamburg has a very good ecosystem for start-up companies,” said Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Managing Director of Hamburg Invest, who also took part in the tour. He noted: “Those with good ideas go to Berlin, those with a business plan come to Hamburg.”
The last stop of the tour took the delegation to the Digital Hub Logistics in Speicherstadt where futuristic projects such as drones and solutions for the last mile topped the agenda. This stop left plenty of room for networking and discussing the many impressions. “Delegation trips broaden people’s horizons and bring them into conversation with each other to forge networks,” said Westhagemann. No long journeys are needed as this trip showed and is unlikely to be the last of its kind, he added.