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Volkswagen partners with Google on quantum computing

ABR Staff Writer Published 09 November 2017

Volkswagen has partnered with technology giant Google to explore ways in which quantum computing could be used in the automotive industry.

The two companies will explore the use of quantum computers with an aim of building specialist knowledge and to carry out practically oriented research.

As part of the research, a team of specialists from both the companies will work together using Google’s quantum computer.

It is being argued that quantum computers can solve highly complex tasks much faster than conventional supercomputers and in some cases, solutions can only be obtained through quantum computers.

For Volkswagen, the intention behind quantum computer is to have a development on traffic optimisation to explore structures of new materials, especially for high performance batteries for electric vehicles and to work on artificial intelligence with machine learning processes.

Collaboration of the two companies will focus on the research of practical applications of quantum computing. Specialists from Volkswagen Information Technology Centers (IT labs) in San Francisco and Munich together with the Google experts are expected to develop algorithms, simulations and optimizations. Such algorithms and simulations are expected to be suitable for several experimental computing operations.

Volkswagen Group chief information officer Martin Hofmann said: “Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast-track for future-oriented topics.

“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.”

The automaker intends to explore the potential of quantum computing in different areas.

The first project is the development of traffic optimization. They are building on an already successfully completed project and now they want to have additional variables and to reduce travelling times. These include urban traffic guidance systems, available electric charging stations or vacant parking spaces.

In the second project, Volkswagen specialists aim to simulate and optimize the structure of high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and other materials. The automaker expects that this approach can provide new information for vehicle construction and battery research.

The third project aims to develop new machine learning processes. Machine learning is considered to be a key technology for the development of advanced AI systems which are a prerequisite for autonomous driving.

Google quantum artificial intelligence laboratory director Hartmut Neven said: “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.”

Image: Volkswagen and Google to quantum computing for practical use. Photo: Courtesy of Volkswagen of America, Inc.