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Der HOLON-Shuttle Mover im HOCHBAHN-Design

Autonomous on-demand shuttles

HOCHBAHN is driving flexibly and emission-free towards the mobility revolution


Within just five minutes, all Hamburg residents should be able to get a mobility service that suits them by 2030. This is the plan of the Hamburg-Takt. The backbone for this is, of course, our buses and trains in the hvv network. But we will not be able to achieve the mobility transition with these alone. We need another flexible service to complement classic public transport: on-demand shuttles.

That's why HOCHBAHN is working with the producer HOLON, a member of the globally operating Benteler Group, to bring autonomous minibuses to Hamburg's streets as early as 2024.

Five metres long, room for 15 people and travelling at up to 60 km/h. Sounds like a agile minibus that should feel just as comfortable in Hamburg's city traffic as it does in narrow neighbourhood streets. But the special features of the HOLON Mover, as the vehicle is called, are primarily different: autonomous and emission-free. In the future, it will be bookable via app and move the people of this city in a very flexible and climate-friendly way. With an operating concept that is independent of fixed routes and timetables, such on-demand vehicles are an important supplement to buses, trains and ferries.

The Project ALIKE: Up to 10,000 On-Demand Shuttles as early as 2030

In order to develop a ridepooling system for Hamburg that is unique in the world to date, HOCHBAHN as the leading partner in the ALIKE project has joined forces with the on-demand service provider MOIA and the vehicle manufacturers Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and HOLON. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is also involved as a research partner.
The system that is now to be developed should be easy for passengers to book, socially accepted, based on clear legal principles, in the best case transferable nationwide and also usable for rural areas. ALIKE is supported by the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport with funding of 26 million euros.

From 2024, the first movers for HOCHBAHN should visibly travel through Hamburg and go into test operation from 2025. As early as 2030, up to 10,000 autonomous on-demand shuttles from different providers could then be on the road in public transport throughout the entire Hanseatic city.

The pilot operation, in which a vehicle escort will still be on board, is initially intended to gather important experience for later operation and to create the prerequisites for the legal framework of autonomous vehicles.

HOCHBAHN has already demonstrated how an automated minibus can function in urban transport with the HEAT project in HafenCity from 2019 to 2021. The project was one of the first in the world to realise autonomous driving in local public transport on a defined route without planned intervention by driving personnel. The ALIKE project will now take the next step into on-demand operation.