Volkswagen AG and Google announced plans to partner up to use quantum computers to improve traffic flow, develop new materials and create artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles.
The pair will use quantum computing, which is still early in its development, taking advantage of the quirks of quantum physics to perform calculations at far higher speeds than current computers.
Specialists from each company will work together using Google quantum computers, developing algorithms and simulations.
“Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast-track for future-oriented topics,” said Martin Hofmann, chief information officer of the Volkswagen Group.
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“We at Volkswagen want to be among the first to use quantum computing for corporate processes as soon as this technology is commercially available. Thanks to our cooperation with Google, we have taken a major step towards this goal.”
Volkswagen Group IT wants to use the potential of the quantum computer to further development of traffic optimization. They are building on the research project which they have already successfully completed and now want to consider additional variables in addition to reducing travelling times. These include urban traffic guidance systems, available electric charging stations or vacant parking spaces.
The company has already had some success in this arena. In March, VW completed its first successful research project on a quantum computer: a traffic flow optimization for 10,000 taxis in the Chinese capital Beijing.
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In a second project, the Volkswagen specialists aim to simulate and optimize the structure of high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and other materials. Volkswagen Group Research and Development experts expect this approach to provide new information for vehicle construction and battery research.
A third project concerns the development of new machine learning processes. Machine learning is a key technology for the development of advanced AI systems, which are a prerequisite for autonomous driving.
Specialists from the Volkswagen Information Technology Centers (IT labs) in San Francisco and Munich will develop algorithms, simulations and optimizations together with the Google experts. They will carry out this work using Google universal quantum computers. This architecture is suitable for many experimental computing operations.
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“Volkswagen has enormous expertise in solving important, real-world engineering problems, and it is an honor for us to collaborate on how quantum computing may be able to make a difference in the automotive industry,” said Hartmut Neven, director of the Google Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.