Automotive industry

How will quantum technology change the automotive industry?

The era of digitalization will have much to offer the automotive and fleet industries in the years to come. So much so that it will not be possible to analyze large amounts of data and provide comprehensive security on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) of smart cities and large fleets across multiple industries.

Enterprise fleets are only scratching the surface of future technologies as they gradually adapt telematics. Until 2030, there will be a whole different ecosystem with billions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and millions of connected and automated vehicles. Anticipating the approaching technological storm, the automotive giants have already taken a big step into the future by embarking on quantum computing (QC).

In just a few years, many challenges and tasks in the fleet industry, such as congestion and route planning, will be handled by quantum computers, which operate on the basis of quantum mechanics. Unlike traditional computers, which use bits that can take on the value zero or one, quantum computers encode data in qubits, which have a third state called “superposition”. This allows them to be a one or a zero at the same time. This capability greatly increases the processing power of quantum computers, which connected fleets and ITS will need.

How will quantum technology be used?

McKinsey&Company predicts rapid development until the 2030s in which the tech world will witness quantum simulations, complex optimization problems, and quantum complex artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Automotive industry players will make various uses of the technology:

  • Suppliers will be able to develop various new technologies such as battery materials and cooling systems. QC will optimize supply routes, including multiple forms of transport.
  • Supply chain management will increase efficiency throughout the value chain through accurate demand forecasting and warehouse logistics.
  • OEMs will benefit from QC in vehicle design, in-vehicle and autonomous driving software and ensure the safety of connected vehicles.
  • Dealers will use QC algorithms to maximize the benefits of predictive maintenance.
  • Mobility and shared service providers will master vehicle routing to improve fleet efficiency and demand forecasting based on geography by simulating various economic scenarios.

What are OEMs working on?

Automakers around the world have started investing in quantum technology with several goals:

volkswagen: The German auto giant announced a partnership with Google in 2017 to conduct quantum computing research in three main areas.

  • Traffic pattern optimization: VW and quantum computing company D-Wave Systems conducted an algorithm-based experiment in Beijing in 2017 to optimize traffic flow, using data from 10,000 taxis. VW said the experiment provided positive results in reducing congestion by selecting an ideal route for each vehicle. In the future, VW plans to use quantum algorithms to optimize the use of parking spaces and charging stations by sending calculated information in real time.
  • EV Batteries: QC will help VW take ambitious EV battery cell research to new heights. In 2018, VW engineers modeled key molecules such as lithium-hydrogen and carbon chains using quantum computers that opened the doors to more complex chemical compounds. The goal is to simulate the chemical composition of an EV battery on quantum computers based on criteria such as maximum power density and cell assembly.
  • Automated driving: QC will also support VW’s self-driving technologies through machine learning.

Ford: Ford entered into a one-year agreement with NASA in 2018 to work with the Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL) to increase the fuel efficiency of diesel fleet vehicles. QuAIL’s D-Wave 2000 computer created the first use cases for route optimization for Ford. Although it is not easy for a traditional computer to gather multiple parameters such as speed, traffic patterns and number of stops on a route, quantum computing will help maximize efficiency by revealing the route optimum.

Daimler: Daimler chose Google in 2018 to take the first steps in quantum research to develop sustainable and efficient mobility solutions. Jan Brecht, CIO of Daimler, described their goal in the collaboration as “gaining experience with quantum technology at an early stage.” To this end, Daimler will continue to advance in areas such as battery technology, autonomous vehicles and urban mobility through deep learning and AI on quantum computers.

Toyota: Japanese auto giant Toyota teamed up with global auto component maker Denso in 2017 and conducted an experiment based on 130,000 commercial vehicles in Thailand to assess traffic data. Denso has worked with Toyota subsidiary Toyota Tsusho to work with D-Wave Systems quantum computers.

Bosch: Accelerating its presence in battery development and e-mobility, Bosch invested in Zapata Computing in 2019 to support quantum algorithms, software and other quantum technology tools. The main areas that Bosch wants to participate in are sensor technology and quantum cryptography.

The security key of the future

Representing mobile computing platforms connected to other vehicles (V2V) and traffic infrastructure (V2I), connected vehicles will provide a remarkably improved attack surface for criminals. To make matters worse, cybercriminals will dramatically increase their arsenal by using quantum computers themselves. Currently used public key cryptography (PKC) methods do not protect against attacks from a quantum computer, making the use of quantum secure cryptographic mechanisms, also known as post-quantum cryptography (QPC), inevitable. .

The adaptation of 5G and IoT technologies will continually increase the use of online services, e-commerce and all aspects of digitalization, including connected vehicles. To mitigate huge risks such as the hacking of entire traffic systems of smart cities, local governments and the automotive industry need to develop many security standards under the PQC.

Eventually, Research and Markets estimates that the quantum cryptography market will reach $291.9 million by 2026. Quantum cryptography will play a vital role in the sustainability of connected technologies because a single flaw can have irreversible consequences.

Main image courtesy of Daimler,
The first and second images in the article are courtesy of Volkswagen.