Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg and Matthias Müller, CEO of the Volkswagen Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Hamburg’s Town Hall Monday (August 29th) on the joint development of innovative solutions to make urban mobility more environment-friendly, safer, more reliable and more efficient over the next three years.
Hamburg to become model city of intelligent mobility
The collaboration aims to turn Hamburg into a model of sustainable and integrated urban mobility in future. The partnership hinges on urban mobility concepts, intermodality, traffic control and management, autonomous driving and parking, innovative vehicle concepts and alternative technologies as well as air pollution control. Termed another building block in the new “TOGETHER 2025” strategy, for Hamburg’s Senate, it “represents an important step in its strategy to develop intelligent transport systems, and in its application to host the 2021 ITS World Congress.”
Traffic 4.0 requires collaborations
Commenting on the partnership, Olaf Scholz, Mayor of Hamburg, said: “Here in Hamburg, we want to safeguard mobility for all citizens. At the same time, it is our aim to make traffic in our city cleaner, quieter and safer. Technological progress is the only way to achieve that. What is needed is the resourcefulness and inventive spirit of German industry, and we are seeking to cooperate with leading companies such as Volkswagen.” Matthias Müller, CEO of VW, added: “Mobility remains a basic human need – even in the digital age. Constant calls for doing without or banning mobility are not the answer. What is needed are intelligent concepts that make the automobile part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.”
Hamburg has already become a pioneer in terms of digitalization or the intelligent transport systems (ITS) strategy. Müller noted: “With our ideas and our expertise, we want to contribute to making Hamburg a model city for intelligent transport.”
Concept to accommodate people’s needs
The agreement is the result of talks between the Senate and the Volkswagen Group, which began in 2015. The underyling idea is that in the era of digitalization and the sharing economy, lifestyles, consumer behaviour and people’s mobility needs are changing. This results in more demands on carmakers, traffic and transport companies, and on urban infrastructure and traffic planning. Scholz pointed out: “There is a particularly innovation-friendly climate in our city, and the co-operation with Volkswagen will add to that. My standpoint is: what is invented here must be tested here, too. Made in Germany – tested in Hamburg.”
Hamburg – possible testing ground field for autonomous driving
Hamburg and VW also submitted a successful joint application for the “mySMARTlife” project funded by the EU. As part of that project, VW will launch diverse pilot projects for mobility sharing concepts such as micromobility applications, community cars, and innovative urban logistics concepts in Hamburg-Bergedorf. The German government sees Hamburg as a possible testing ground for autonomous driving and has launched a funded program for automated and connected driving on digital test fields in Germany. Hamburg and VW wish to conduct a joint project as part of that mobility partnership.
In a bid to improve air quality and achieve emissions-free mobility solutions, Hamburg-Holstein GmbH and Hamburger Hochbahn AG reached an agreement in July with MAN, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, on an intense exchange in the field of electric bus development.