Quantum physics, is there anything it can’t do? How It Works covered this amazing section of science in issue 95, explaining how it will revolutionise medical research, encycription and even teleportation. Now, motoring giant Volkswagen has found another use for them, relieving our congested roads. In a joint venture with quantum computing company D-Wave Systems, the German car firm is planning to use the technology to optimise traffic flow.
These supercomputers can work many times faster than standard computing systems. The new software installed in them will measure data from cars in cities, analysing their normal day-to-day journeys and the speed in which they complete them. This is called traffic-flow optimisation. The aim is to make journeys more effective by discovering what the routines are of daily traffic in a city. By doing this, Volkswagen will be able to use AI assistance to assess traffic patterns. Once programmed in, it will help a city’s transport get from A to B in the shortest and quickest way possible, avoiding pinch points and finding shortcuts. The smart mobility programme has already been tested in Beijing as the actions of 10,000 taxis were monitered across one day. The results were analysed in the Volkswagen Code Lab in San Francisco and the Volkswagen Data Lab in Munich. An algorithim was succesfully set up that optimised the routes and times of taxi travel for that day. Volkswagen is the world’s first automaker to use quantum computers and it most certainly won’t be the last as we seek to learn more about our cars and how we drive.