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Volkswagen Uses Quantum Computing to Develop EV Batteries

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【Summary】Volkswagen was recently able to simulate EV battery molecules on a quantum computer. Eventually, the German automaker hopes to use this technology to model complete battery structures and build a "tailor-made" battery.

Mia Bevacqua    Jun 16, 2018 8:00 AM PT
Volkswagen Uses Quantum Computing to Develop EV Batteries
author: Mia Bevacqua   

Quantum computing sounds pretty far out – and it is. Classic computers store information in bits that are either a 1 or a 0. But quantum machines rely on qubits, which can be both a 1 and a 0 at the same time. It's a mind-blowing concept that Volkswagen has started to implement in EV battery testing. 

VW models EV battery molecules 

Quantum computers offer far more processing power than traditional devices. Volkswagen was able to harness this technology to model key battery molecules (lithium hydrogen and carbon chains). Now it's working towards more complex compounds that could simulate a complete EV battery structure. 

Every automaker is involved in the intense race to build a better vehicle battery. WV hopes to get a leg up on the competition by using quantum computers to accelerate the development process. Qubit-driven technology could produce a "tailor-made battery with a configurable chemical blueprint that's ready for production."

Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group, says: "We are focusing on the modernization of IT systems throughout the Group. The objective is to intensify the digitalization of work processes – to make them simpler, more secure and more efficient and to support new business models. This is why we are combining our core task with the introduction of specific key technologies for Volkswagen. These include the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as well as quantum computing."

The end goal: a "tailor-made battery"

Using quantum computer algorithms, VW hopes to simulate the entire chemical composition of a battery. This would allow modeling based on conditions, such as weight, power density, or cell assembly. Having everything mapped out virtually could lead to a battery design that could be sent straight to production. As a result, real-world testing would be reduced, expediting the battery development process. 

The Volkswagen's research group is working with its IT experts to make tailor-made batteries a reality.  Also, the automaker is working with Google and D-Wave on quantum computer development. Research is underway at VW's IT labs in San Francisco and Munich. 

Florian Neukart, Principle Scientist at Volkswagen's CODE Lab in San Francisco, says: "We are working hard to develop the potential of quantum computers for Volkswagen. The simulation of electrochemical materials is an important project in this context. In this field, we are performing genuine pioneering work. We are convinced that commercially available quantum computers will open up previously unimaginable opportunities. We intend to acquire the specialist knowledge we need for this purpose now."

Volkswagen will present its quantum computing research at the CEBIT technology show this week. 

Source: Volkswagen


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