Airbus, BMW Group open submissions for transport quantum computing challenge

8th December 2023 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Aerospace company Airbus and automotive manufacturer BMW Group have launched the global Quantum Computing Challenge, seeking candidates to develop a solution to mobility challenges, such as aerodynamics, automated mobility, sustainable supply chains and corrosion inhibition, and then run them on cloud services company Amazon Web Services' (AWS's) cloud quantum computing service Amazon Braket.

The challenge is hosted by quantum market intelligence company The Quantum Insider. Students, researchers and professional experts in quantum technologies have until April 30 to make submissions.

Challenge candidates must tackle the most pressing challenges in aviation and automotive that have remained insurmountable for classical computers, and harness quantum technologies for real-world industrial applications, thereby unlocking the potential to forge more efficient, sustainable and safer solutions for the future of transportation, the companies said.

“Quantum computing has the potential to significantly enhance computational power and to enable the most complex operations that challenge today’s best computers.

“In particular, for data-driven industries like the transportation sector, this emerging technology could play a crucial role in simulating various industrial and operational processes, opening up opportunities to shape future mobility products and services,” they said.

The challenge is divided into two parts. In the first four-month phase, participants will develop a theoretical framework for one of the given statements and, during the second phase, selected finalists will implement and benchmark their solutions.

Candidates can select one or more problem statements, including improved aerodynamics design with quantum solvers, future automated mobility with quantum machine learning, more sustainable supply chain with quantum optimisation, and enhanced corrosion inhibition with quantum simulation.

Candidates can also put forward their own quantum technologies with the potential to develop native applications that are yet to be explored in the transportation sector, the companies said in a statement.

The jury will be composed of quantum experts and experts from Airbus, BMW Group, and AWS who will evaluate submitted proposals and award one winning-team with a €30 000 prize in each of the five challenges by the end of 2024.

“This is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on quantum technology and its potential impact on our society. Partnering with BMW Group enables us to mature the technology, as we need to bridge the gap between scientific exploration and its potential applications,” said Airbus central research and technology VP Isabell Gradert.

“We are seeking the best-in-class students, PhDs, academics, researchers, start-ups, companies or professionals in the field worldwide to join our challenge to create a massive paradigm shift in the way aircraft are built and flown,” she said.

“Following the success of previous editions of Quantum Computing Challenges by BMW Group and Airbus, we are gearing up for a new wave of innovation, exploring the technology capabilities for sustainability and operational excellence,” said BMW Group research technologies VP Dr Peter Lehnert.

“The BMW Group aims to position itself at the crossroads of quantum technology, the global ecosystem and cutting-edge solutions and, in so doing, drive major advances when it comes to sustainable materials for batteries and fuel cells, to generate unique and efficient designs, or to enhance the overall user experience in the BMW Group products,” he said.