Applications Braunschweig
DLR-Institut

Quantum-inspired mobility optimization and analysis in real time

Objective

We demonstrate the already existing practical usability of quantum computing for real-time applications in the field of traffic optimisation and control.

The efficient control of traffic lights has an important influence on the quality of traffic flow. In large cities with a large number of such systems, this is a challenge, especially when it comes to optimisation in real time. Previous traffic computers have reached their limits here. This is where the QI-TraSiCo project comes in. The aim of the project is to optimise traffic light circuits in real time using innovative, quantum-inspired computing technology. In a prototype implementation, several traffic light systems of a real test field are coupled with a quantum-inspired background system and optimally controlled.

Motivation

The volume of traffic on our roads is constantly increasing, resulting in more and more traffic jams, waiting times and environmental pollution. As an expansion of the road infrastructure is often not expedient, the main option is to optimise traffic control. The challenge here lies in the live optimisation of large road networks with a large number of traffic lights. Network-wide optimisation approaches are known, but until now they were usually not executable with sufficient quality in real time due to the limited computing power of conventional traffic computers. The future application of powerful quantum computers offers completely new possibilities here. A large number of different switching variants can be calculated and tested in real time for each traffic light system in a road network. The optimum can be determined and switched live, with a positive effect for all road users.

Challenge

The application of quantum computing in the field of traffic optimisation and control has hardly been tested in practice to date. Today’s transport infrastructure is not yet compatible with innovative quantum computing hardware and software solutions. Some of the traffic technology used in the field has very long life cycles, which is why interfaces to new applications such as quantum computing do not exist and must first be created. Reliable 24/7 operation must always be ensured so that there are no failures in live traffic control on the road. In addition, a control algorithm must be found that fully utilises the potential of quantum computing while also complying with legal requirements. The QI-TraSiCo project is addressing these requirements and will realise a prototypical, practical overall system.