Volkswagen says they are the first automakers to work with quantum computers, partnering with Burnaby-based D-Wave Systems, a quantum computer development company.
Researchers from Volkswagen’s labs are testing algorithms on D-Wave’s quantum computer to see the best use for the technology. Their first project was traffic flow optimization in Beijing, where data was collected from approximately 10,000 taxis and loaded onto D-Wave’s quantum computers to be processed.
Using the quantum computer’s ability to solve complex problems faster than conventional supercomputers, data scientists and AI specialists from Volkswagen have programmed an algorithm to optimize the travel time of all public taxis in the city.
Robert Ewald, president of D-Wave International, said that the goal of the partnership is to apply their quantum computing technology to Volkswagen’s real-world computing challenges. “Bringing together our quantum computing experts with their automotive AI experts is the perfect model to make significant progress toward that goal,” he said. “This project is a great example of how computing in the future will be done, with talented people looking at new ways to solve old problems, and combining traditional computers with quantum computers to deliver an improved solution.”
Quantum computing technology has been used primarily by scientific institutes, government agencies, and the aerospace sector. With this research using D-Wave’s quantum computers, Volkswagen expects a wide range of application possibilities such as autonomous driving, AI-supported process control, the smart factory, machine learning, and intelligent mobility solutions.
In early 2017, D-Wave released an open source software tool, qbsolv, in order to build a better quantum software development ecosystem.
In the past few years, the company has raised almost $50 million, including a reported $21 million in 2016, and $28.4 million in 2014.