Hamburg residents can now see for themselves what autonomous driving will look like in the future. In the presence of the First Mayor of Hamburg, Dr. Peter Tschentscher, the driverless minibus of the HEAT project(Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation) started operating today.
Until the ITS World Congress in mid-October, where the project will be presented to experts from all over the world, interested parties will be able to ride in the vehicle on the almost two-kilometer circuit with five stops. At speeds of up to 25 km/h, the vehicle completes the circuit from Sandtorkai via Sandtorpark and Kaiserkai along the Elbphilharmonie concert hall.
One of the biggest challenges in the research project remains the legal framework for autonomous driving. It was only in May of this year that the Bundesrat, the upper house of the German parliament, approved a law, according to which autonomous vehicles will be able to drive without a driver in specified areas of public road space throughout Germany. However, this decision came too late for the HEAT project. As a result, the vehicle attendant will remain on board for safety until the ITS World Congress.
IKEM’s project manager Matthias Hartwig comments: “HEAT shows the possibilities and limits of the existing legal framework with regard to innovative mobility concepts. With its holistic approach, the project provides important impulses for new legislative projects on autonomous driving.”