ZF, City of Hamburg develop driverless system for public transport
Hamburg’s city-owned Hochbahn AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG (ZF), with the support of the Hamburg Authority for Transport and Mobility Change (BVM), are planning to jointly tackle the challenges of a real-life deployment of autonomous transport systems in public transport and to further develop corresponding solutions for regular operation in the coming years. To this end, Hochbahn and ZF have agreed on an innovation partnership. Driverless transport systems are to be aligned with the real needs of passengers and transport providers in order to design sustainable, demand-oriented, future-oriented and customer-centred mobility in Hamburg. A year ago, the City of Hamburg had presented corresponding projects.
Key data presented recently envisage that the vehicles will be electrically powered and offer space for up to 22 people. Initially, they will be able to operate in dedicated lanes reserved only for them. Later, according to the plans, they will also be able to drive autonomously in road traffic. ZF will not only supply the Level 4-capable vehicle but will also be involved in the creation of the route layout. In addition, ZF will accompany the installation and commissioning of the shuttle systems, offer training for employees and workshops, and support the operator with a complete package for service and repair.
Henrik Falk, CEO of Hochbahn: “The HEAT project, which we successfully presented at the ITS Congress last year, was an important first step with which we were able to show that autonomous shuttles can complement local transport. Now we have to take the next step in a highly competent network and develop a system that we can use in everyday regular operation. In other words, from showcase to customer solution.”
One of the objects of the innovation partnership is to identify possible areas of application where emission-free autonomous shuttles can then be used in regular operation. The partners are aiming for several areas of use in order to gain as comprehensive a picture as possible for the user- and operator-side, technological and regulatory further development towards a driverless transport system.
Torsten Gollewski, Head of Autonomous Mobility Systems at ZF: “Autonomous shuttles are the ideal means of local transport to advance the transport and energy transition with passengers. Hamburg and Hochbahn are perfect partners for us to answer questions of urban and suburban mobility in major cities. Together we plan to further develop the mobility service that will fill a gap in the timetable in cities and towns.”
In order to make the Hamburg-Takt possible – a closely coordinated system for public transport at short intervals -, especially in the regions of the outer City where public transport still needs to be improved, autonomous, electrically powered, sustainable services can make an important contribution in the future and be integrated into regular public transport operations – for example, autonomous minibuses that connect people in the surrounding areas to the rapid transit system according to their needs. ZF is working with partners from science and industry to develop such systems, the company announced.
The goal is complete integration into the existing clock-based public transport system: by 2030, every Hamburg resident should be able to access a public mobility service within five minutes from morning to evening.