Quantum computing, Ardey added in a release, “might trigger a revolution” in material science that will feed into the company’s in-house battery expertise.
Leaving the bits and bytes of classical computing behind, quantum computers rely on qubits, and are widely seen as having potential to solve complex problems that traditional computers could not work through on reasonable timelines.
The automaker and Toronto-based technology firm have already been collaborating on research into material science, computational chemistry, and quantum algorithms for about a year. That early work “set the foundation” for the formal partnership, Volkswagen said.
The goal of the research is to develop quantum algorithms that can simulate how a blend of battery materials will interact more quickly than traditional computer models. Computational chemistry, which is traditionally used for such work, Ardey said, is “reaching limitations” when it comes to battery research.
Juan Miguel Arrazola, head of algorithms at Xanadu, said the partnership is part of the Canadian company’s drive to make quantum computers “truly useful.”
“Focusing on batteries is a strategic choice given the demand from industry and the prospects for quantum computing to aid in understanding the complex chemistry inside a battery cell.”
Using the quantum algorithms, Volkswagen said it aims to develop battery materials that are safer, lighter and cheaper.