The partnership aims to develop traffic optimisation, material simulations, and new machine learning technologies.
Volkswagen and Google have announced a new partnership to research on quantum computing developments. Speaking at this week’s Web Summit 2017 in Lisbon, Volkswagen said its aim was to be at the forefront of future development of quantum computers and its potential in the EV industry.
Chief Information Officer at Volkswagen, Martin Hofmann, commented: “Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast-track for future-oriented topics. We at Volkswagen want to be among the first to use quantum computing for corporate processes as soon as this technology is commercially available. Thanks to our cooperation with Google, we have taken a major step towards this goal.”
Google has already demonstrated its commitment to the development its quantum computing systems, with its decision to offer AI researchers access to hardware and an open-source initiative. The scheme, announced earlier this year, was intended to encourage developers to “write code for quantum computers” and to further the development of apps.
However, the partnership between VW and Google is a significant step forward for the EV industry. In particular, new developments in quantum computing could help enable the AI technology needed to realise fully autonomous vehicles – something which both companies intends to perfect.
VW already announced a partnership with leading quantum computing company D-wave systems on a research project back in March, which focused on traffic optimisation by using data collected from 10,000 taxis in Beijing to create an algorithm to improve travel time.
This partnership with Google will further develop traffic optimisation by adding additional variables to the current project, such as available EV charging stations and vacant parking spots.
The first of VW’s practically orientated research projects will focus on “the development of an algorithm for simulating the chemical structure of high-performance electric vehicle batteries,” which it believes will allow for an increased power density with a reduction in the weight of EV batteries.
In doing so, Volkswagen joins rival automaker Toyota, which announced earlier in the year that it would be pursuing developments in battery materials using AI research.
By focusing on machine learning development, Volkswagen (alongside Google experts) also hopes to develop a learning system with an expansive volume of data available. This in turn will allow for a highly reliable system, proficient in detecting patterns and laws, which meets all the requirements for a fully autonomous system.
This partnership between VW and tech giant Google only further demonstrates the relationships being built between automakers and tech companies in order to aid the development of future autonomous EVs. As development head at Google Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Harmut Neven, comments: “We’re looking forward to explore together how quantum computing could change and bring forward the automobile industry.”