Quantum computing improves air mobility traffic control

October 19, 2021 // By Rich Pell
Quantum computing improves air mobility traffic control
Sumitomo Corporation, Tohoku University, and urban air mobility (UAM) platform developer OneSky Systems say their collaborative project for optimizing flight routes for UAM vehicles by quantum computing has been shown to improve performance of traffic control for flying Cars.

The Quantum Transformation Project ("QX PJ") was launched in June as a pilot experiment for developing optimized flight routes and scheduling for numerous air mobility vehicles by leveraging quantum computing technology. Air mobility is a next-generation means of transportation that is expected to shorten travel time in urban areas, improve convenience of travel in remote islands and mountainous areas, and speed up emergency transport and goods transportation.

To ensure the safety and security of air traffic in the age of air mobility, it is necessary to determine the optimal flight operation considering the ever-changing weather, radio wave conditions, and the situation of other air mobiles. However, it may be difficult for conventional computers to find the answer in real time from an exponentially increasing number of combinations.

To solve this problem, the QX PJ has conducted a demonstration of the use of quantum computing to develop a real-time three-dimensional traffic control system for the era when hundreds of thousands of air mobility vehicles will be flying in the sky, and has improved the number of flying vehicles that can fly simultaneously by about 70%, say the organizations.

"We have also demonstrated that quantum computing is about 10 times faster than conventional computers in certain problems," say the organizations. "In the future, we believe that quantum computers will be able to increase the number of flying cars by further improving their performance, and that air mobility will be able to create new value by providing the shortest and best route for emergency flights that should be prioritized."

Sumitomo Corporation is overseeing the project and simulating UAM vehicles and UAV flying in urban areas leveraging OneSky Systems unmanned traffic management (UTM) system and utilizing quantum computing technologies - specifically quantum annealing - by Tohoku University.

Sumitomo Corporation
OneSky Systems

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