Creating Value-added Business through Quantum Computing-based Optimization Technologies
Quantum computers are specialized machines used for combination optimization, determining how to best combine options from a large option pool to achieve the greatest efficiency and profit in specified scenarios. Quantum computers of D-Wave Systems (Canada) are innovative computers that use the natural phenomenon of quantum annealing to solve optimization problems incredibly quick. In November 2017, Toyota Tsusho concluded a cooperation memorandum with D-Wave Systems with the aim of jointly creating business in Japan.
- Cooperation memorandum with D-Wave Systems Inc. (Announced on November 14, 2017)
- Trial of application of quantum computers to commercial services in conjunction with Denso Corporation (Announced on December 13, 2017)
- Practical demonstration of lane-level high-accuracy route guidance system (JETRO “Project for Nurturing New Industries in ASEAN and Japan” second-round application project) (Announced on January 30, 2018)
- Investment in Magellan Systems Japan Inc., which possesses centimetre-class satellite positioning technologies (NEXT Technology Fund project) (Announced on January 25, 2018)
- Investment in Global Positioning Augmentation Service Corporation (GPAS) with the aim of a commercial launch of centimetre-class satellite positioning service (Announced on April 20, 2018)
Furthermore, in December 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand, we began a joint trial together with Denso of the world’s first commercial application of the system to transportation.
The system gathers large amounts of probe data (location and time information) from GPS receivers mounted in probe cars*1 such as taxis operating within Bangkok. This information is then processed by D-Wave Systems’ quantum computers connected via the cloud. This testing will assist us with the proposal of new applications such as those that use quantum computers to alleviate traffic congestion or determine priority routes for emergency vehicles.
Quantum computers will be used in solutions that work with the growing amounts of data produced by the IoT and the spread of machine learning, meeting real-time optimization needs. They are believed to have tremendous potential for use in diverse fields, from the next-generation automotive sector to logistics, finance, medicine, the environment, and more. We are working to provide Japanese customers with greater value via the implementation of optimized technologies.
*1Vehicles with onboard GPS receiver. Connected. Autonomous Expanding the Centimeter-class High-precision Satellite Positioning Business Market Using the Michibiki Quasi-zenith Satellite System (QZSS)*2
In March 2018, Toyota Tsusho carried out a demonstration project in Bangkok, Thailand, that utilized Michibiki and MADOCA*3 to gather lane-class probe information—which cannot be done using existing systems—with the aim of realizing the practical application of a lane-level high-accuracy route guidance system.
The demonstration project equipped probe cars that operate in urban Bangkok with high-accuracy multi-frequency multi-GNSS*4 receivers that can receive signals from Michibiki and correction data from MADOCA. Based on centimeter-class probe data (location and time information), the project sought to evaluate the technologies used by systems that generate lane-level high-accuracy traffic congestion information, and in systems that distribute high-accuracy route guidance. The project also aimed to provide optimal route guidance.
Through this demonstration, the Toyota Tsusho Group sought both to further contribute to alleviating traffic congestion in Thailand by improving its traffic information services, and to expand its business in fields that utilize high-accuracy positioning technologies.
*2 A Japanese satellite positioning system comprised primarily of quasi-zenith satellites (the system uses radio waves generated by the satellites to calculate position information)
*3 Short for “Multi-GNSS Advanced Demonstration tool for Orbit and Clock Analysis” and developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), MADOCA is a system that generates satellite signal correction data. It is a precise orbit and clock determination software that supports multiple GNSSs.
*4 Global Navigation Satellite System: GNSS is a collective term for global satellite positioning systems such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS.
Toyota Tsusho has invested in Magellan Systems Japan (Magellan) and GPAS with the aim of collaborating in business areas that utilize high-accuracy satellite positioning technologies.
Toyota Tsusho has invested in Magellan Systems Japan (Magellan) and GPAS with the aim of collaborating in business areas that utilize high-accuracy satellite positioning technologies. Magellan, with its centimeter-class satellite positioning technologies, was the first company in the world to develop and sell multi-frequency multi-GNSS receivers—the only receivers capable of receiving MADOCA correction data provided by Michibiki. Through this investment, Toyota Tsusho intends to utilize Magellan’s high-accuracy positioning technologies globally in autonomous driving systems in the fields of automobiles and agricultural and construction equipment. At the same time, Toyota Tsusho intends to create a variety of services utilizing these systems, such as advanced ITS services, including lane-level traffic congestion information distribution and V2X*5; fully automated services, such as delivery services that utilize drones and self-propelled robots; and services aimed at smart farming and i-Construction*6, which make use of automated agricultural and construction equipment. GPAS is the only company that transmits correction data generated by MADOCA. We will collaborate with related companies and government agencies to promote the discovery and commercialization of new needs for satellite signal correction data provision services, which will serve as the technical platform essential for high-precision satellite positioning. Satellite positioning is composed of three areas (the satellite, terrestrial, and user areas), and through our investment in these companies we are participating in two of these—the terrestrial and user areas. Our aim is to develop the nascent market for high-precision satellite positioning businesses using QZSS. We will contribute via these services to the resolution of societal problems, including the realization of a safe and economical road traffic society, and both energy and labor savings in the agricultural and construction industries, where an aging workforce and shortage of labor are growing concerns.