A quantum computer from D-Wave. Copyright: D-Wave.
Volkswagen AG has successfully demonstrated the world’s first live use of quantum computing to help optimize traffic routing. During the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal, nine public transit buses used a traffic management system developed by Volkswagen scientists in the United States and Germany, powered by a D-Wave quantum computer, to calculate the fastest travel routes individually and in near-real time. (Earlier post.)
For more than two decades, advanced computing has held the promise of untangling the increasing traffic flow in modern cities. Today, modern navigation software can easily provide an individual vehicle with the shortest path by distance or time to any given destination taking existing traffic into account. But those calculations can’t take other vehicles’ navigation choices into account, so that when a system tells vehicles to re-route around a backup, it can create another cascading set of backups by directing too much traffic through chokepoints.
Volkswagen experts helped developed the Quantum Routing algorithm and data management system that runs on the D-Wave quantum computer in house, collaborating with specialists Hexad and PTV Group to round out the project. (Earlier post.)