VW successfully uses quantum computer

Volkswagen experts have used a quantum computer to develop a traffic management system that will replace forecasting for urban traffic volumes, transport demand and travel times with precise calculations.

As a result, public transportation organizations, taxi companies, and transport service providers will be able to deploy their fleets considerably more efficiently while minimizing waiting times for passengers.

Quantum computers can solve highly complex tasks such as traffic optimization much faster than conventional supercomputers. In some cases, a solution is only possible using quantum computers. Volkswagen sees considerable potential in using this computing technology for building new applications and business models within the company.

‘Volkswagen is forging ahead with practically-oriented research on quantum computers and is gaining essential specialist knowledge,’ said Florian Neukart, principal scientist at Volkswagen’s CODE Lab in San Francisco. ‘We want to gain an in-depth understanding of applications of this technology which could be beneficial to the company, including traffic optimization.’
To develop the new traffic management system, Volkswagen experts first analyse anonymised movement data (from smartphones or transmitters in vehicles) with conventional computers to calculate traffic accumulation and the number of people involved.

The second step, optimisation, is completed with a quantum algorithm. For example, it’s possible to assign precise numbers of vehicles to different destinations on a predictive basis to provide transportation for all waiting passengers.

This would eliminate costly transportation inefficiencies such as taxis and buses driving considerable distances without passengers, long passenger wait times, or a shortage of vehicles in high demand locations.

Public transportation operators could add additional trips to fixed timetables to better align with demand. For Volkswagen, this quantum-optimized traffic management system could be offered as a new commercial service.

The Volkswagen experts first want to test the algorithm in Barcelona. They are cooperating with the telecommunications service provider Orange and the data science specialist Teralytics. As a general principle, the algorithm could be scaled up or down for any city.