The future is driverless

Be part of the HOCHBAHN research and development project HEAT



HOCHBAHN has been getting Hamburg where it wants to go for 100 years. With the first underground railway just as much as the first E-buses in the city. And of course we never stop testing and developing on an ongoing basis. That is why we are trialling the new driverless vehicle technology in order to sound out what possibilities it may present for future public transport in Hamburg as well as for even more flexible mobility options

That is why we have HEAT: Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation is a research and development project in which HOCHBAHN, together with other partners, is running a trial of the first driverless minibus service in Hamburg public transport.


HEAT Hamburg
Five meters long and electrically powered: this is the vehicle for our HEAT project in HafenCity. © HOCHBAHN


Do you want to experience research at first hand and take a seat in the HEAT bus? Then here’s how! Just set up the new HEAT App and you are clear to go – simply register and you can ride free of charge.

The HEAT App is available for iOS- (from Version 12) and Android phones (from Version 6) and can be downloaded from the app store free of charge. Just enter “HEAT” or click here on the relevant button for your operating system.



Alternatively to the HEAT App you can find below a form to download. Simply fill it out and hand it to our vehicle attendant when you get on the bus.

The HEAT bus stops at five stops on the final 1.8-kilometer test route in HafenCity. © HOCHBAHN

Questions and answers about HEAT

Operating the HEAT service involves an interaction between the vehicle, the road infrastructure and the HOCHBAHN control centre. That is why the HEAT bus is equipped with various components such as surveillance cameras, radar and laser measurement as well as map data. There is complete-coverage networking using sensors and digital communication along the entire route. And in addition everything is permanently monitored by our employees here at HOCHBAHN.

With this project we want to …

  • find out whether driverless minibuses are suitable for use in a public transport system and how they might be able to supplement the options already on offer to you from HOCHBAHN
  • gather first-hand experience running a service with driverless vehicles
  • define the requirements for vehicle technology and the road infrastructure framework
  • develop the technology further and create greater acceptance for driverless services


We are increasing the degree of automation over three phases. HEAT was launched in 2019 on a test route without passengers at a speed of 15 km/h. In Phase 2, HEAT will run with passengers on board with the minibus travelling at up to 25 km/h and stopping at fixed stops. In the final trails scheduled for 2021 the minibus will run on an extended test route of 1.8 km.

HEAT will be a central flagship project at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg in October 2021.




• German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)), Institute for Traffic Systems Technology (Verkehrssystemtechnik): accompanying research

• Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg (City of Hamburg): Depart for Transport and Mobility Planning (Behörde für Verkehr und Mobilitätswende (BVM)), traffic planning by the Hamburg Department of Roads, Bridges and Water (LSBG), realization and operation of the necessary infrastructure systems by Hamburg Traffic Installations (HHVA), clarification of the legal requirements by the Department for Internal Affairs and Sport (Behörde für Inneres und Sport (BIS))

• hySOLUTIONS: deals with all questions and tasks in connection with the topic of electromobility, success monitoring and the technical and administrative coordination with the funding agency

• Ingenieursgesellschaft Auto und Verkehr (IAV): design and development of the vehicle; development and integration of the autonomous driving technology in the vehicle and the integration of the infrastructure data in the total field information flow for the autonomous operation of the minibus

• Institut für Klimaschutz, Energie und Mobilität (IKEM): examination of new operating and business models, legal support in obtaining permits and approvals

• Siemens Mobility GmbH: road infrastructure, safety and transport efficiency


© Hamburger Hochbahn AG 2021