Quantum Computers Are About to Forever Change Car Navigation

VW testing quantum computers for traffic management 3 photos
Photo: Volkswagen
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We presently take great pride in the way we can find directions to anywhere. Gone are the days were the paper-printed maps were our only guides in foreign places, as now all it takes to get from point A to point wherever is a swipe of the finger.
But all present map solutions are somewhat flawed. There’s nothing wrong with them per se, but with the computing power behind them.

All present-day navigation solutions can direct a car depending on a variety of factors on a number of routes. The problem is none of them take into account what the other cars are doing in real time, and, just when you were about to gloat for having dodged a bottleneck, you find other drivers, lots of them, had the exact same advice served to them by navigation apps.

Quantum computing might help with that, as they are countless times faster, and exactly such a solution was tested by Volkswagen earlier this month at the Web Summit in Portugal.

Using an algorithm called Quantum Routing and a D-Wave quantum computer, Volkswagen showed that nine public transit buses can successfully avoid traffic jams by knowing in real-time where such queues are being formed.

“Volkswagen believes quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize how we use and learn from data in the real world,” said in a statement Thomas Bartol, senior vice president of Information Technology and Services for Volkswagen Group of America.

“Even though the technology is still in its early stages, this demonstration shows its potential, and how Volkswagen plans to play a leading role in bringing these solutions to market.”

The tech demonstrated by the Germans in Portugal is nowhere near mass implementation. Volkswagen did announce that it is planning to bring the tools it already showed to market maturity, but it's unclear in what timeframe.

For now, the carmaker is looking for other clogged cities to explore.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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