HEAT (Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation), a new minibus with unique research and development projects with the ability to integrate an autonomous shuttle bus in regular street traffic. The bus is powered emission-free with electricity. The vehicle is designed with providing space for passengers up to ten. The location selected is Hamburg’s HafenCity.
The minibus fleet will be communicating continuously with sensors for route navigation at a speed up to 50 km/h covering the uncharted territory for the self-driving mini buses. It is mainly catered to meet the needs tailored as per the customer demands. The main goal is to provide environmentally friendly standards as a technological setup where the minibus is provided with two benches and four seats each with a foldable bench and two more seats. The mini-bus is also with a barrier-free operation where batteries are used for the electric vehicle to drive in HafenCity. The vehicle is equipped with cameras, radar, and lidar with installation supplementary such as sensors and digital communication systems. The HEAT minibus is supported by well-equipped predictive driving features, enabling the power of making sounded decisions based on data available through the sensors.
In my opinion, the main concerns are safety and security which have been handled cautiously and very seriously by the authority assigned for the particular task. To gain trust is also very vital for any new adventure and with passengers offered full safety is something that cannot be played at all. However, with time, the scenario helps and improves and only time can show the future with such minibus available in every street for passengers to commute without any major hazards.
The project is well funded and supported by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg with a commitment of €3.7 million, BWVI (Hamburg’s Authority for Economics, Transport, and Innovation), the city’s Department of Roads, Bridges and Water (LSBG) and Hamburg Verkehrsanlagen GmbH (HHVA) accounted €2.7 million. The main foundation HOCHBAHN is also receiving €1 million for the project management and is bearing a further €1.5 million from its own budget.