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Quantum AI for Automotive Industry

Forschungszentrum Jülich, BMW Group, Mercedes-Benz AG, Volkswagen, Bosch, and DFKI to test AI applications for quantum computers

Jülich, 9 June 2021 – Quantum computers could take artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to a new level. However, the development of real AI applications for quantum computers is still in its infancy. The collaborative project Q(AI)2, coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich, unites both approaches using specific use cases in the automotive industry as a basis. The three largest German automotive manufacturers, the BMW Group, Mercedes-Benz AG, and Volkswagen, are involved in the project together with the supplier Bosch and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). The project has been granted funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) worth € 4 million over the next three years.

Projektkoordinator Prof. Dr. Frank Wilhelm-MauchProject coordinator Prof. Dr. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / Sascha Kreklau

Artificial intelligence is one of the most important key technologies in industry, particularly in high-tech sectors such as the automotive industry. The cost of computation for many applications, however, is enormous. Even state-of-the-art supercomputers sometimes need several days for certain tasks. Some problems have even proven impossible to solve in realistic time spans.

“Quantum computers offer us a chance to accelerate applications with AI and thus achieve a real advantage in terms of speed. This is particularly important where answers to industrially relevant questions have to be found quickly,” explains project coordinator Prof. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch from Forschungszentrum Jülich.

“The use cases will be about optimizing flexible production processes in Industry 4.0, for example, or steering autonomous vehicles through traffic without collisions, or intelligently planning routes for electric bus. Taking real tasks in the automotive industry as the starting and end point of research is a key unique feature of this project,” explains Wilhelm-Mauch.

Using quantum computers and quantum annealers for real-world problems is an area that has hardly been explored to date due to the early development stage of these systems. Q(AI)2 will assume a pioneering role in this area. Researchers from academic institutions, automotive manufacturers, and a supplier have joined forces to create a broad base of quantum-accelerated AI algorithms for the first time, which will be optimized both for the available hardware as well as for industrial issues.

“We want to explore the potential for acceleration that already exists in known algorithms. And we generally want to identify industrially relevant applications that can be significantly accelerated using quantum computers,” says Frank Wilhelm-Mauch. The envisaged insights could provide German automotive manufacturers with decisive competitive advantages: promising approaches should lead directly to real pre-development projects in the participating enterprises. At the same time, the results will be made available to external users.

In addition, the Q(AI)2 partners aim to determine key figures that will clearly indicate when quantum computers are commercially viable for industrial applications. How many qubits and what cycle times are required for the systems to achieve a real “quantum advantage”?

For a realistic assessment, it is crucial to be able to test algorithms using state-of-the-art quantum computer simulation software and to implement them on different quantum computer systems. Forschungszentrum Jülich’s JUNIQ infrastructure ensures access to a wide range of hardware and software systems. The Jülich quantum computer platform combines different types of quantum computers, quantum annealers, and quantum simulators under one roof. This grants researchers access to systems from IBM, D-Wave, and Atos as well as to experimental machines such as those being created in the European Quantum Flagship project.

OpenSuperQCryostat for the quantum computer being developed in the European OpenSuperQ project and operated in Jülich.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / Ralf-Uwe Limbach

Further information:

Q(AI)2 project profile (in German)

Focus on quantum technologies


Prof. Dr. Frank Wilhelm-Mauch
Peter Grünberg Institute – Quantum Computing Analytics (PGI-12)
Tel: +49 2461 61-6106

Press contact:

Tobias Schlößer
Press officer, Corporate Communications
Tel: +49 2461 61-4771