VWs first quantum computing project was to optimise traffic management for 10,000 taxis

VW's first quantum computing project was to optimise traffic management for 10,000 taxis

Volkswagen Group and Google have announced comprehensive research cooperation in the field of quantum computing.

The two companies will explore the use of quantum computers, aiming to build up specialist knowledge and to carry out practically oriented research.

As part of this collaboration, a team of specialists from Volkswagen and Google will work together using a Google quantum computer. Quantum computers can solve certain highly complex tasks considerably faster than conventional supercomputers. In some cases, a solution will only be possible with quantum computers.

VW group IT wants to continue the development of traffic optimisation, to explore structures for new materials, especially high performance batteries for electric vehicles, and to work on artificial intelligence with new machine learning processes.

Martin Hofmann, VW's chief information officer, said: "Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast track for future oriented topics. We 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."

Hartmut Neven, director of Google's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said: "Volkswagen has enormous expertise in solving important, real-world engineering problems, and it is an honour for us to collaborate on how quantum computing may be able to make a difference in the automotive industry."

Staff at VW IT labs in San Francisco and Munich will develop algorithms, simulations and optimisations together with Google.

In one project, they are working on the further development of traffic optimisation, building on completed research to consider additional variables in addition to reducing travelling times. These include urban traffic guidance systems, available electric charging stations or vacant parking spaces.

Another project aims to simulate and optimise the structure of high performance batteries for electric vehicles and other materials to provide new information for vehicle cons­truction and battery research.

A third project concerns the development of new machine learning processes, a key technology for the development of advanced AI systems which are essential for autonomous driving.

VW claims to be the first automaker to work intensively on quantum computing. In March 2017, it announced its first successful research project completed on a quantum computer: a traffic flow optimisation for 10,000 taxis in Beijing.

See also: Q&A with VW Group on quantum computing

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