Workshop to design the test site for autonomous shipping on the Kiel Fjord

group photo of people who are involved in the CAPTin Kiel project
© Farah Claußen, Kiel University

In Kiel’s Wissenschaftszentrum (Science Centre), those involved in the joint CAPTin Kiel project by Kiel University met up with all project partners and representatives from the BMVI to make progress with the concepts for autonomous shipping.

Upon invitation by Kiel University (CAU), the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure discussed the technical details and requirements necessary for digital test sites with the project partners of “Clean Autonomous Public Transport in Kiel” (CAPTin Kiel).

On Monday 6 May, information about designing the planned digital test site for autonomous shipping on the Kiel Fjord was exchanged between the CAPTin Kiel project partners, experts from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and the GDWS (Generaldirektion Wasserstraßen und Schifffahrt, general directorate of waterways and shipping). In order to substantiate setting up a test site in Kiel’s waters, CAPTin Kiel’s status quo was presented and there was talk with the BMVI about collaboration and funding as from 2020.

In addition to expanding the test site geographically and the technical equipment required on ships and in harbours, there was also a focus on accompanying research into the ambitious local transport concept for the Fjord. A first test area in a cordoned-off zone belonging to the Navy is already available to CAPTin Kiel.

CAU President Professor Lutz Kipp emphasised: “The CAPTin Kiel project is one of Schleswig-Holstein’s showcase projects in the field of transdisciplinary research and developing innovative autonomous transport concepts, on account of its unique nature and complexity. Kiel University has helped design this development considerably in its role as project initiator, and will continue to do so in future.”

According to CAU project coordinator, Dr Karsten Pankratz, CAPTin Kiel is an ideal project to connect the two university locations on the east and west banks and to research public acceptance of new, environmentally friendly transport infrastructures. “I am convinced that CAPTin Kiel will be tremendously attractive for the CAU, the City of Kiel and the entire regional economy. There is already a lot of international interest in our project,” says CAU project coordinator, Dr Wiebke Müller-Lupp.

Autonomous shipping on the Kiel Fjord

The interdisciplinary and innovative project, CAPTin Kiel, stands for the development of an integrated mobility chain by combining environmentally friendly, autonomous buses and ferries with a pilot application in Kiel, supervised by the CAU. A future-oriented structure of local public transport should be established as part of the joint pilot study, the basis of which is low-emission and autonomously driven passenger ferries with a direct connection to buses.

Since May 2017, a total of 16 CAU working groups from the fields of engineering, IT, law, innovative research, acceptance research and philosophy, working groups from Kiel University of Applied Sciences and industrial designers from the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design have been working together with companies from the shipbuilding and supplier industry in Schleswig-Holstein on the topic’s technological implementation. The City of Kiel and its municipal companies are important partners for CAPTin Kiel and are providing the necessary infrastructure. For the city, the project approach means establishing an innovative urban transport infrastructure, boosting tourism and contributing towards Kiel’s cross-regional attractiveness as the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein.

The goals of the project are to create a sustainable transport infrastructure in the Kiel region, to combine autonomous land and ferry traffic with innovative driving systems, to optimally network science locations and to reinforce local passenger transport on the Kiel Fjord.

More information:

visualisation of autonomous shipping
© Farah Claußen, Kiel University

In the future, autonomous ships shall be sailing on the Kiel Fjord.

The project coordinators Wiebke Müller-Lupp and Karsten Pankratz
© Farah Claußen, Kiel University

The project coordinators of CAPTin Kiel Dr Wiebke Müller-Lupp and Dr Karsten Pankratz.

President of Kiel University Professor Lutz Kipp
© Farah Claußen, Kiel University

President of Kiel University Professor Lutz Kipp


Dr Wiebke Müller-Lupp
CAPTin Kiel project coordinator
+49 (0)431/880-4308


Dr Karsten Pankratz
CAPTin Kiel project coordinator
+49 (0)431/880-4605


Press contact:

Farah Claußen
Press, Digital and Science Communication