Inside Quantum Technology

BMW Decides to Crowd Source Quantum Innovation

BMW Group has identified around 50 specific areas where quantum computing is likely to provide a competitive advantage over classical computers all up and down the value chain. To get there faster, BMW has launched a global challenge to the quantum computing community to come up with innovative algorithms and test them in a quantum computing environment.

The prize for the winning submission to the Quantum Computing Challenge will be future projects with BMW.

Amazon Web Services will provide access to their quantum cloud Amazon Braket for testing, upon request.

BMW has outlined specific parameters for submissions, which will be reviewed by an expert panel. The company wants solutions to optimize sensor positions for automated driving; material deformation simulations during the production process; vehicle pre-production optimization and automated machine learning quality assessment.

“The technological landscape in the field of quantum computing is only just starting to take shape,” Peter Lehnert with BMW Research said. “Different firms and research institutes are pursuing a variety of approaches. By launching our crowd innovation initiative, we are hoping to tap into additional innovative power that would be beyond the reach of a standard tendering process.”

Finalists will have an opportunity to pitch their solutions at an event slated for December 2021, according to BMW. The idea of crowd sourcing solutions isn’t necessarily new, the cybersecurity community has begun leaning heavily on crowd source “bug bounty” programs which engage hackers in chasing down vulnerabilities.

BMW group is working in partnership with the Technical University of Munich, but this move signals they are interested in all the quantum computing ideas than can get in establishing a quantum ecosystem inside the automotive industry and beyond. The company has also been heavily involved in German government efforts to fund and incubate quantum computing inside the country.

Just weeks ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled a shiny new IBM Quantum System One in Ehningen, Baden-Württemberg with much fanfare, calling it “an excellent flagship for Germany as a location for high tech.”

With the Quantum Computing Challenge, BMW is looking for solutions to directly help the bottom line.

“Quantum computing is in its early stages but its long-term impact promises to be transformational for many industries,” said Bill Vass, Vice President of Engineering, AWS. “Indeed, enabling cutting edge research in quantum computing and helping businesses prepare for the quantum future is why we launched Amazon Braket and built out our team of experts at the Amazon Quantum Solutions Lab.”

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