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  • Hub.Berlin Festival: Are driverless busses on their way?


Hub.Berlin Festival: Are driverless busses on their way?

Curious about the mobility of tomorrow? Hub.Berlin is a two-day festival all about technology, discovery and experimentation.

Bus without driver: BVG tests with the self-driving electric bus EasyMile 2022 in Alt-Tegel. Photo: Imago/Jürgen Ritter

Hub.Berlin: “Future Mobility” is a focal point

Berlin is desperately looking for drivers for their bus and train fleets. Training to become a bus driver is often advertised right on the front display of buses, but since the shortage of skilled workers isn’t going away any time soon, BVG is also pursuing the goal of driverless vehicles. In a pilot project, BVG – together with the Technical University of Berlin and the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM) – want to send a driverless minibus fleet through Berlin’s northwest by 2025.

The BVG has been experimenting taking the next step in autonomous driving since 2017. It’s also one of the major topics at the Hub.Berlin business fair, which the digital association Bitcom is organising on 28 and 29 June at STATION Berlin in Kreuzberg.

Hub.Berlin in STATION: In 2012, the first rendition was still called “Trendkongress”. Photo: Bitkom

The search for alternatives to private motorised transport is a huge trend in many cities. Other metropolises like Paris and Copenhagen are already much further along than Berlin – where the new CDU and SPD government doesn’t exactly give the impression of being in a hurry to restructure transport.

Hub.Berlin: More than 5,000 visitors last year

But it looks like things could be changing, since a law on automated driving came into force in summer 2021. Hub.Berlin 2022 attracted more than 5,000 visitors, and 200 speakers are planned for this year, including keynotes by Bosch’s Chief Digital Officer Tanja Rückert and Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges. Expect to see Oliver Mackprang, CEO of the car-sharing company Miles, and Ellen Kugelberg from the Swedish company Einride, which focuses on autonomous electric transport. Politicians will be represented by two FDP members of the German government, Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Volker Wissing from the Department of Digital Affairs and Transport.

Other conference topics: Artificial intelligence and digital sustainability technologies

As well as “Future Mobility”, the conference will cover debates on artificial intelligence, sustainable technologies digital sovereignty and the consequences of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. There will also be an interactive exhibition area and a Digital Arts Lab and an afterparty to wrap it all up.

Impression of Hub.Berlin 2022: So this is what the future looks like. Photo: Bitkom

The only question that remains is this: who will provide the passengers with that legendary snarky Berlin bus driver humour in a few years’ time. That’s where any AI would most likely fail miserably.

  • Station Berlin, Luckenwalder Str. 4-6, Kreuzberg, 28/29 June, get more information here.