The first new minibus for HEAT (Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation) has hit the road.

This bus is part of Germany's unique research and development project to integrate an autonomous shuttle bus into regular street traffic. The ambitious goal of the HEAT research and development project is to test uncharted territory. The project aims to prove that self-driving minibuses can be fully and safely integrated into the traffic and a city's public transport system.

The HEAT minibus will be tested under real conditions in public streets and should, as planned, be capable of autonomous driving at speeds up to 50 kph. Five meters long, weighing just under three tons, powered-emission-free with electricity, the minibus will provide space for up to ten passengers travelling through Hamburg's HafenCity from mid-2020 onwards.

The youngest member of the Hamburg's Hochbahn fleet will drive autonomously. In order to safely find its way along the test route, the minibus will communicate continuously with sensors installed along the route and with the central Hochbahn control centre. The minibus will begin test operations this August.