BMW turns to quantum computing to improve manufacturing

Highly accurate computer simulation would allow BMW Group to replace costly physical build-test-improve cycles.

BMW

Pascal, a maker of neutral-atom quantum processors, today announced a new engagement with BMW Group to improve the automaker’s core manufacturing processes. Using Pasqal’s algorithm to solve differential equations (problems where a change in one of the variables does not uniformly affect the outcome), BMW Group aims to analyze the applicability of quantum computing technology to modeling of metal forming applications.

These applications require extensive simulations to ensure that automotive parts meet specifications. Predictive and rapid virtual modeling will drive the manufacturing process towards safer designs, more durable products and zero-prototyping. Pasqal researchers have developed a digital-to-analog implementation of its quantum methods, suitable for its neutral atom quantum processors, which makes these applications 30 times more efficient than on competing superconducting quantum processors.

Highly accurate computer simulation would allow the BMW Group to replace costly physical build-test-improve cycles, as current conventional computer methods are unable to handle the complexity of simulating a complete vehicle with the desired accuracy. Such simulations will ultimately help BMW Group create lighter parts, making cars more fuel efficient. This collaboration is the result of Pasqal being selected as the winner of the BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge late last year. Previous collaborations have focused on the development of quantum computational methods for chemistry and materials science that can for example be used to optimize battery designs at the atomistic level. The renewed collaboration extends this scope to other relevant time and length scales by adding material simulations at micro and macro levels.

“Renewing and expanding 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 to solve these types of differential equations with quantum technology, which are essential for running efficient and accurate simulations. We are proud to work with BMW Group to improve manufacturing processes and safety through our technology.

Pasqal thinks these use cases are great candidates for an early quantum advantage with its proprietary quantum algorithms, which the company expects to achieve within two years. These complex simulations will take place over a period of six months at Pasqal’s facilities. Real-world applications of these simulations include crash testing and the accelerated development of new, lighter, stronger parts and materials, ensuring passenger safety while reducing emissions and development costs.

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