German automaker Volkswagen and Google have announced plans to cooperate in exploring possible uses in the auto industry for quantum computers.
Quantum computing, a technology that’s still in its early phases, uses the quirks of quantum physics to perform calculations at far higher speeds than current computers.
Volkswagen said Tuesday that specialists from the two companies will work together using Google quantum computers, jointly developing algorithms and simulations.
The automaker said it wants to use quantum computers for traffic flow optimisation, exploring structures for new materials such as batteries for electric cars, and to develop artificial intelligence that could be used for self-driving vehicles.
Separately, Google parent Alphabet-owned Waymo will launch a ride-hailing service with no human behind the steering wheel and has been testing the fully self-driving cars on public roads in Arizona, Chief Executive John Krafcik said Tuesday.
The test without a human in the driver’s seat is a first in the United States as large tech companies, big automakers and well-funded startups race to develop fully autonomous cars.
While self-driving car companies test their vehicles in public, they routinely have a human in the driver’s seat ready to take over if the technology fails.
Waymo said members of the public will begin riding in its fleet of Fiat Chrysler Pacifica minivans without human drivers in a test run of the service in the next few months in certain areas of Phoenix, Arizona, which has dry, predictable weather. Developers are still grappling with vehicle performance in snow or heavy rain.