Q-CTRL, a global leader in quantum technology, has partnered with Australia’s Department of Defence to develop quantum sensors for GPS-free navigation. The technology will enhance positioning and navigation capabilities for military platforms, providing accurate positioning over long periods even when GPS is unavailable.
The technology uses quantum physics to detect motion and changes in Earth’s gravitational field. Q-CTRL’s CEO, Prof. Michael J. Biercuk, highlighted the company’s ability to improve the performance of quantum computers and sensors through software. The company’s quantum sensing division, led by Dr Russell Anderson, was established in 2022.
The reliance on GPS for civilian and military navigation has become a significant vulnerability for governments and private sector organisations worldwide. Limited access to or outright denial of GPS signals can cause estimated economic losses of over $1 billion per day in the US alone. Existing alternatives to GPS deliver limited benefits, suffering from rapidly accumulating errors that can pose tremendous risks to defence missions.
Quantum Technology to Address GPS Vulnerabilities
Q-CTRL’s technology uses the quantum physics of atoms to detect motion and small changes in the Earth’s gravitational field. These signals are leveraged to enable navigation over extended periods. Quantum sensors provide very reliable outputs because their signals are derived from the fundamental laws of physics, unlike existing mechanical or electrical systems that degrade over time or under different operating conditions.
The application of quantum navigation on real defence platforms is unlocked by both proprietary hardware design and software-ruggedization. This boosts performance in the field by hundreds of times. Q-CTRL is a pioneer in the application of AI-enhanced infrastructure software to improve the operation of quantum hardware. The team’s recent groundbreaking results demonstrate that they can ruggedize quantum sensors entirely in software, to maintain advantages even in challenging field environments, such as moving platforms subject to strong vibrations.
Q-CTRL’s Quantum Sensing Division
Q-CTRL announced its quantum sensing division in 2022, led by Dr Russell Anderson. The team is focused on realising a new generation of software-defined quantum sensors. They have previously worked with partners including Advanced Navigation and the Australian Army to demonstrate and deliver this technology for applications including remote drone detection.
The company’s recent expansion to the US and UK directly supports the objective of delivering the team’s unique capabilities to Australia’s closest technology-sharing partners. The company’s newest contract supports the first of a multi-year effort to field-deploy and validate miniaturised systems on defence platforms. It represents one of the first international partnerships between government and the private sector to apply quantum technology in real defence settings.
Q-CTRL operates a globally recognised quantum sensing division focused on software-level innovation for strategic capability. This capability is underpinned by Q-CTRL’s quantum control infrastructure software for R&D professionals and quantum computing end users. The software delivers high-performance error-correcting and suppressing techniques globally, and provides a unique capability accelerating the pathway to the first useful quantum computers and quantum sensors.
Founded by Michael J. Biercuk in 2017, Q-CTRL has pioneered the quantum infrastructure software segment. In 2022, Q-CTRL augmented its product leadership, bringing in deep tech executive Aravind Ratnam as Chief Strategy Officer and Silicon Valley veteran Alex Shih as Head of Product, to guide a team of engineers and product specialists.
Q-CTRL has been an inaugural member of the IBM Quantum Startup network since 2018 and recently announced that Q-CTRL’s performance management software would run natively on IBM quantum computers. The company has partnered with end-users Xerox PARC, Capgemini, and Transport for NSW to deliver practical quantum computing to enterprises.
The company has international headquarters in Sydney, Los Angeles, Berlin, and London. This global presence allows Q-CTRL to collaborate with various partners and clients, furthering its mission to advance quantum technology and its applications.
Interim Head of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator, Professor Emily Hilder said the collaboration with Q-CTRL was significant for delivering quantum-enhanced navigation. “Defence recognises that quantum sensing has the potential to transform Defence capability fundamentally. Partnerships of this kind demonstrate our capacity to translate innovative concepts into capability, delivered by a world-class Australian deep-tech company.”
Q-CTRL, a global leader in quantum technology, has partnered with Australia’s Department of Defence to develop quantum sensors for GPS-free navigation in military operations. The technology, which uses quantum physics to detect motion and changes in Earth’s gravitational field, will provide reliable navigation over extended periods, even in challenging environments, and reduce reliance on GPS, a critical vulnerability for governments and organisations worldwide.
- Q-CTRL, a global leader in quantum technology, has partnered with Australia’s Department of Defence to develop quantum sensors for military navigation.
- The technology will provide quantum-enhanced positioning and navigation, particularly useful when GPS is unavailable or unreliable. This could revolutionise air, space, underground, and underwater defence operations.
- The reliance on GPS for navigation is a critical vulnerability for governments and private sector organisations worldwide, with potential economic losses of over $1 billion per day in the US alone if GPS signals are denied or limited.
- Q-CTRL’s quantum sensors use the quantum physics of atoms to detect motion and small changes in the Earth’s gravitational field, providing reliable outputs for navigation over extended periods.
- The technology is enhanced by AI infrastructure software, which can improve the operation of quantum hardware and maintain advantages even in challenging environments.
- Q-CTRL CEO and Founder, Prof. Michael J. Biercuk, and Interim Head of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator, Professor Emily Hilder, have both expressed the significance of this partnership for delivering quantum-enhanced navigation.
- The company’s quantum sensing division, led by Dr Russell Anderson, was established in 2022 and has previously worked with partners, including Advanced Navigation and the Australian Army.
- This new contract supports a multi-year effort to deploy and validate miniaturised systems on defence platforms, marking one of the first international partnerships to apply quantum technology in real defence settings.