Sumitomo Corporation and Partners Investigating Whether Quantum Computers Can Help Steer Air Taxi Traffic

UAV Quantum
Quantum computers may make the sky more friendly for UAVs and flying taxis.

Urban Air Mobility Vehicles, like air taxis, may create new, quick and convenient modes of travel. Not everyone is sold with the idea of thousands of flying cars buzzing around their heads.

A team of researchers are looking into whether quantum computers can help, according to news from Sumitomo Corportation.

Japan-based Sumitomo Corporation, Tohoku University and OneSky Systems, Inc. have started a pilot program for developing thousands of flight routes for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles by quantum computing starting from June 2021 and ending on December 2021. This program is essential for realization of future advanced air mobility, in which numerous UAM vehicles, e.g. air taxis, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), e.g. drones will be flying.

According to the company, advanced air mobility is the next-generation means of transportation, using airspace as a transportation network. Urban air mobility specifically is expected to reduce transportation times in urban areas and facilitate mobility for remote islands and mountainous areas. It will also reduce emergency response time. Many automotive, logistics, and mobility companies are already developing UAM vehicles and UAVs around the world.

Numerous air mobility vehicles and UAV will likely be flying by late 2030s, and a digital airspace management system, called Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) will be needed. More specifically, optimized flight routing and scheduling, will be required to realize such world. Many factors including vehicle performance, load capacity, geography and weather will need to be considered in order to develop optimized flight routes and scheduling, but it is hard to achieve due to current computing power limitations.

Under the Pilot Program, optimized flight routes and scheduling for UAM vehicles and UAV will be developed by leveraging quantum computing technology. Sumitomo Corporation will oversee the entire project and simulate UAM vehicles and UAV flying in urban areas leveraging OneSky Systems, Inc.’s UTM system and utilizing quantum computing technologies by Tohoku University.

Sumitomo Corporation through Sumitomo Corporation of Americas has acquired a stake in OneSky Systems, Inc. in April 2020, and is contributing to building the future advanced air mobility ecosystem. Sumitomo Corporation has inaugurated the QX Project (Quantum Transformation Project) to revolutionize society through quantum technology in March 2021. Through the QX Project, Sumitomo Corporation as an integrated trading company aims to be a leader in achieving social change with quantum technology.

Tohoku University is leading university for quantum technology, as demonstrated through their participation and thought leadership in numerous pilot experiments. Tohoku University promoting quantum computing technologies and its application to the industry. Recently, as Tohoku University announced the searches of the refuge course at the time of the disaster such as tsunamis and effective delivery automated vehicle in factories. Tohoku University also concluded a collaborative research agreement with Sumitomo Corporation in March, 2021 and will accelerate the application of the quantum computer.

OneSky Systems, Inc. is a global UTM company developing airspace assessment, operations and traffic management solutions for the aviation industry. OneSky Systems, Inc.’s goal is to harmonize our sky – ensuring safe, efficient, and scalable access to all airspace users. OneSky Systems, Inc.  takes a robust and long-term approach to UTM, envisioning the challenges ahead as traffic management is unified for all operators.  By working with all stakeholders – drone operators, drone manufacturers, and airspace authorities – OneSky Systems, Inc. understands the unique challenges of this ecosystem and serve the critical needs of the community. Through this Pilot program, the three parties will contribute to the acceleration of advanced air mobility by utilizing quantum computing.

Source: Sumitomo Corporation




Matt Swayne
Matt Swayne
Matt Swayne is a contributor at The Quantum Daily. He focuses on breaking news about quantum discoveries and quantum computing. Matt enjoys working on -- and with -- startups and is currently working on a media studies master's degree, specializing in science communication.

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