Quantum’s ability to analyze multiple scenarios simultaneously also promises to speed up research into high-impact diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s, HIV or AIDS, Alzheimer’s, malaria and cardiovascular disease.
Logistics, supply chain and travel
When it comes to route optimization, quantum’s ability to run multiple calculations at the same time makes it a perfect fit for logistics, supply chain and travel industries.
While conventional computers analyze each possible route between set points one-at-a-time until they identify the best option, quantum computers can analyze all paths simultaneously, flagging the best route available in a fraction of the time.
The world’s first quantum route optimization pilot project is already underway in Lisbon, Portugal, where a D-Wave quantum computer is being used to calculate the fastest route for nine of the city’s buses between 26 stops. The quantum computer constantly monitors traffic conditions and other variables and generates individual routes for each of the nine vehicles in near-real-time between the 26 stops.
The algorithm also predicts and factors in passenger numbers, adding temporary links to the buses’ scheduled services to serve stops with the greatest demand.
Lisbon’s quantum route optimization pilot has been designed in a fully scalable way, so that it can be transferred to any city and used by vehicle fleets of any size. For example, the use-case could also be extended to optimize final-mile parcel delivery, fleet operators and taxi services.
The emergence of autonomous vehicles opens the possibility of entire smart-city traffic networks managed and optimized by quantum computers. The benefits could include reduced congestion, improved energy efficiency and sustainability at great scale, and a step-change in road-user safety.
Meanwhile, in the wider field of logistics, quantum could help organizations double down on their efforts to meet customer demand while minimizing total supply chain costs. This could include ensuring assets are in the optimum location, maximize the simultaneous preparation of shipments and further enhance predictive ordering to speed up final-mile delivery.
The emergence of quantum cloud services, such as Amazon Braket, could prove to be a powerful tool for companies looking for similar end-point solutions to complex challenges around autonomous transport, logistics, smart-city design or any data-heavy use case involving solutions with a massive range of permutations.