Hochbahn and ZF Friedrichshafen to boost driverless public transport

Driverless transport systems to slowly merge with local transport in Hamburg
19 May 2022
Autonomer Bus HEAT

Hochbahn and the ZF Friedrichshafen technology group reached an agreement in May to integrate the use of driverless vehicles in regular local transport. This comes after the autonomous HEAT minibus drove its final round in HafenCity as part of Hochbahn's R&D project last October.

Putting driverless vehicles on roads

The transition from HEAT is akin to "going from showcase to customer solution", said Henrik Falk, CEO of Hochbahn. "Now we have to take the next step in a highly-skilled network and develop a system for use in regular operations." ZF Friedrichshafen is the world's third-largest automotive supplier and will be responsible for providing, servicing and repairing electric shuttles as well as training employees and hosting workshops. The shuttles offer space for up to 22 people and will be used in separate lanes in various parts of Hamburg initially. Autonomous driving in road traffic should become a reality later.  

New momentum for "Hamburg-Takt"

Both partners will also boost the so-called "Hamburg-Takt" which should give everyone in Hamburg access to public transport every five minutes by 2030. The aim is to "close a gap in the timetable with driverless vehicles", said Torsten Gollewski, Head of Autonomous Mobility Systems at ZF Friedrichshafen. Anjes Tjarks, Senator for Transport, noted: "Autonomous, electrically-powered sustainable services can play a major role in achieving that cycle, especially in the outskirts where public transport still needs improvment."