Trimble, a company involved in transportation among many other fields, has recently collaborated with Microsoft to use Azure Quantum to solve the most complicated freight optimisation problems.
This is particularly important in the US, where around 70% of goods sold around the country are moved by trucks. This creates a logistical nightmare where finding the most optimal way to deliver quickly and with lower costs. As there are many complications involved, classical computers struggle to find solutions to this massive problem. It is also one of the oldest problems in the transportation industry that remains unsolved to this day.
Some of the areas that need to be improved are from the supply chain to routing optimisation to the truck deliveries. Trimble is now partnering up with Microsoft to find ways to optimise all of these. Data is one of the few things holding Trimble back, as the company cannot process it quickly enough to keep up with the many deliveries. This is where Azure Quantum comes in. Data will become insight, and quantum computers can calculate the data fast enough to provide it to shippers. Shippers can then make decisions based on that insight.
It is important to note that many parameters are involved in smooth truck delivery. Business hours, driver preferences, the weather, traffic conditions, and truck maintenance are but a few of them. There are hundreds of thousands of these ‘connections’ that need to be made. Finding the most optimal path is near-impossible in a short time. Azure Quantum will be able to keep up with these strict demands.
The amount of data available to Trimble and Microsoft is very large, and yet the classical supercomputers cannot compete with Azure Quantum. Quantum systems will be hopefully able to process these connections at a fraction of the time and then produce the most optimal solution to Trimble. Trimble will then be able to make decisions based on this data, ultimately saving on costs and making an efficient delivery.
It’s not just Microsoft exploring Optimisation
Optimisation is likely one of the early wins of Quantum Computing. Routing problems and optimisation problems such as those faced by Trimble and other distribution companies are likely to be some of the early use-cases of Quantum Computing. Microsoft is not the only provider of Quantum Inspired computing, companies such as D-wave have been supplying machines that can perform Quantum annealing which can be then used in optimisation. Something explored by the companies such as Ford and Volkswagen.
Trimble is a company based in California, USA, which is involved in transporting and delivering products and services to clients. These deliveries are both physical and digital as well, using software to devise solutions for the most optimal paths. The company enjoys having workers in 150 countries, 2,000 registered patents worldwide, and development centres in more than 15 countries. Bringing technology to help develop the transportation industry is the company’s biggest goal.
About Microsoft Azure
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud-based quantum computing solution. It is open to clients for use at a fee to calculate solutions to complicated problems. Recently, Azure has been selected by Trimble to develop algorithms and solutions to freight optimisation problems. Read More from Microsoft’s Article and Video