(CNET) Quantum computers reached a level of sophistication in 2021 that emboldened commercial customers to begin dabbling with the radical new machines. Next year, the business world may be ready to embrace them more enthusiastically.
BMW is among the manufacturing giants that sees the promise of the machines.Earlier this month, the German auto giant chose four winners in a contest it hosted with Amazon to spotlight ways the new technology could help the automaker. The carmaker found quantum computers have potential to optimize the placement of sensors on cars, predict metal deformation patterns and employ AI in quality checks.
Aerospace giant Airbus, financial services company PayPal and consumer electronics maker LG Electronics are among the commercial businesses looking to use the machines to refine materials science, streamline logistics and monitor payments.
Like cloud computing before it, quantum computing will be a service that most corporations rent from other companies. The rigs require constant attention and are notoriously fiddly. Though more work is required to tap their full potential, quantum computers are becoming more and more stable, a development that’s helping corporations overcome initial hesitance.
Georges-Olivier Reymond, chief executive of startup Pasqal, says the progress is turning around skeptics who previously viewed quantum computing as a fantasy. A few years ago, employees at large corporations would roll their eyes when he brought up the subject, but that’s changed, Reymond says.
One new customer is European defense contractor Thales, which is interested in quantum computing applications in sensors and communications. “Pasqal’s quantum processors can efficiently address large size problems that are completely out of reach of classical computing systems,” Thales Chief Technology Officer Bernhard Quendt said in a statement.