truck fleet (WR7/Shutterstock.com)

NASA's quantum computer takes on fleet management

The D-Wave 2000Q computer at NASA's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL) at Ames Research Center is helping Ford Motor Company help commercial fleet owners better manage vehicle-route mapping. The goal is to reduce energy consumption of vehicles whose efficiency varies with traffic flow patterns and speed changes.

Under the one-year $100,000 contract signed in July, the NASA QuAIL team will help Ford identify two to three optimization use cases and adapt those problems to be run on the D-wave quantum annealing system.  NASA will then train company representatives to use the quantum system and provide for two hours of computer time each week, according to the Space Act Agreement.

Beyond route planning, Ford said it plans to use quantum computing in materials development, manufacturing and battery chemistry optimization.

The D-Wave machine installed at Ames Research Center is shared under three-way agreement between Google-NASA- Universities Space Research Association. The 2000Q is the third D-Wave system hosted at Ames.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA from West Chester University and an MA in English from the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at smiller@gcn.com or @sjaymiller.

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