From Prototype to Production: How Volkswagen Is Using Quantum Computing

  • In the past five years, Volkswagen has tested and successfully prototyped quantum computing solutions across different parts of the company.
  • Volkswagen’s lead data scientist David Von Dollen believes areas such as logistics, the mobility space, materials design, and optimization are ripe to be optimized by quantum computing.

Volkswagen’s first quantum computing project tackled traffic

The first project that the Volkswagen team looked at was traffic flow optimization with a quantum annealer.”Essentially, we were looking at taxi routes over the city of Beijing,” David explains. “We wanted to find a global configuration of routes for taxis that maximized the flow through the road network.”

Possibilities and pitfalls: Using a quantum annealer for a paint shop encoding project

The team also investigated a binary paint shop encoding, leveraging QAOA (Quantum Approximate Optimization Algorithm) on gate model computers. For the project, David’s group was able to iterate with the paint shop to define their success criteria, refine the problem and the business requirements, and quickly get to the solution. Through this refinement, David explains, the problem was generalized to a “multi-car optimization for the paint shop using a quantum annealer.”

Lessons learned: The importance of synergy between business and IT teams

For companies thinking about rolling quantum into their enterprise, David says a central challenge to the project’s success is the need for “real synergy between business and IT teams to understand the business problem that’s being solved.”

What makes a great quantum team?

In addition to having learned about the importance of synergy between business and IT teams, David also points to the ingredients necessary for a good quantum team. An excellent quantum team will include:

Quantum Computing Support: Next Steps For Your Company

To support a business’s move into quantum computing, David believes middleware could be a powerful solution. “Developing a good middleware that can allow an engineer the ability to design, test and evaluate different algorithms quickly while switching out backends” will be important, he says.

This article is based on an episode of The Qubit Guy podcast, which explores business and technical questions that impact the quantum computing ecosystem. Hosted by Classiq CMO Yuval Boger, the interview podcast features thought leaders in quantum computing.

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