Ford and Microsoft use quantum computing to reduce road traffic

It's not yet for now, but quantum computing could one day help smooth out traffic much more efficiently than the assisted navigation services found in today's smartphones and GPS. In any case, that's Ford's bet. The manufacturer has partnered with Microsoft to explore the capabilities of this technology applied to road traffic.

Ford started from the realization that navigation services such as Google Maps, Waze and others do not have the computing power to coordinate traffic on a large scale. "At peak times, many drivers ask for the shortest possible journeys at the same time, but current navigation services handle these requests in a vacuum. They do not take into account the number of similar applications received, including in areas where other drivers all plan to share the same road segments. »

Instead of operating on an individual basis as these applications do today, Ford and Microsoft have been working on a route system that can take into account the demands of all drivers in order to minimize the number of vehicles using the same roads. To do this, they used an algorithm simulating quantum mechanics but running on a conventional computer. As a result, in a simulation involving 5,000 cars travelling in the city of Seattle (USA), the quantum algorithm was able to produce optimized routes in 20 seconds, which reduced traffic congestion by 73% compared to traditional applications. Ford adds that the average length of pendulum journeys has also been reduced by 8%, an annual reduction of more than 55,000 hours.

The automotive brand says it wants to continue working with Microsoft to fine-tune the algorithm and test its operation on more real scenarios.

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