BMW and Pasqal to apply quantum computing to car design and manufacturing

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Pasqal, a manufacturer of neutral-atom quantum processors, is working with BMW Group to enhance the automaker’s manufacturing processes.

By leveraging Pasqal’s algorithm for solving differential equations (problems where a change in one of the variables does not uniformly affect the outcome), BMW Group is aiming to analyse the applicability of quantum computing technology to metal forming applications modelling.

These applications require extensive simulations to ensure auto parts are conforming to specifications.

Predictive and rapid virtual modelling will enable the manufacturing process to deliver safer designs, more sustainable products and zero-prototyping.

Pasqal’s researchers have developed a digital-analogue implementation of its quantum methods, tailored for its neutral-atom quantum processors, which makes these applications 30 times more efficient than on competing superconducting quantum processors.

Highly accurate computational simulation would allow BMW Group to replace costly physical build-test-improve cycles, as current classical computational methods are incapable of dealing with the complexity of simulating a full vehicle at the desired accuracy. These simulations will ultimately help BMW Group create lighter parts, making cars more fuel-efficient.

This collaboration is a consequence of Pasqal’s selection as a winner of the BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge in 2021.

Previous collaborations focused on developing quantum computational methods for chemistry and materials-science which can for instance be used to optimize battery designs at the atomistic level. The renewed collaboration extends this scope to other relevant time and length scales adding micro and macro-level materials simulations.

“Renewing and extending the scope of our collaboration with BMW Group is a clear sign of the value Pasqal can bring to our customers. Each time we collaborate with BMW Group, we discover something more we can do to help them develop superior automobiles,” said Georges-Olivier Reymond, CEO of Pasqal. “Pasqal currently offers the only method on the market for solving these types of differential equations with quantum technology, which are critical to execute effective and accurate simulations.”

Pasqal said that it believed these use cases are excellent candidates for early quantum advantage with its proprietary quantum algorithms, which the company plans to reach within two years.

These complex simulations will run over a six-month period in Pasqal’s facilities. Real world applications for these simulations include crash testing and accelerated development of new parts and materials which are lighter and stronger, keeping passengers safe while both reducing emissions and cutting development costs.