volkswagon and google drive quantum computing into your car

Volkswagen and Google Apply Quantum Computing to Traffic Optimization, Machine Learning, and High-Performance Batteries

Quantum computing is finally hurtling toward your car at breakneck speed!  Well, sort of. Volkswagen and Google have announced plans to cooperate on a research project to explore the practical applications of quantum computing in the auto industry. Google will soon supply quantum compute cycles and data to Volkswagen.  Volkswagen will use them to model traffic optimization and design high-performance batteries. (Sound familiar?) The project involves Volkswagen’s IT centers in Munich and San Francisco and Google’s Quantum AI lab.

I’m psyched, because one of the issues the field often faces is explaining who is using the technology and what problems are being solved. The answers are usually too complicated for mere mortals like you and me.  But optimizing urban traffic?  Better batteries? Everyone can get behind these names and applications.

The Details

Here are the lead bullet points directly from our friends at Volkswagen:

  • The companies intend to build up specialist knowledge together and to carry out practically oriented research
  • Volkswagen Group IT is launching quantum computing in three development areas on a Google quantum computer
  • Further development of traffic optimization, material simulations especially for high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and new materials, and new machine learning processes

“Machine learning processes” means artificial intelligence.  AI plus car equals self-driving car.  Sweet, sweet quantum-optimized super cars.

Quotable Quotes

Google’s Hartmut Neven, Development Director of the Quantum AI Lab, and Volkswagen’s Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group, sat down for an interview on the project.

From Hofmann:

“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.”

From Neven:

“It is a really exciting project. Here’s why: When you work with an architect today and plan a house, he or she can quickly run through a number of options on the computer and show them to you on a monitor. But if you want to develop batteries for e-vehicles, you have no simulation options available to you. We intend to change this. If we succeed, the development process will take off because improvement ideas can be simulated at once on a computer.”

From me: This is not Hollywood sci-fi. This is happening in San Francisco right now.  We are watching the birth of a team-up that might dramatically reduce urban traffic jams and traffic fatalities in a major city in our lifetimes. Awesome!