Quantum technologies are expected to create a massive paradigm shift in the way aircraft are built and flown. At Airbus, we aim to be an early adopter of quantum technologies to enhance the performance of our products and services, and to help us solve the most complex aerospace challenges.

Leveraging quantum to solve aerospace challenges

Airbus is exploring a number of quantum technologies that can be applied to aerospace challenges. These technologies include the following: 

  • Quantum computing: The aerospace industry has complex computational needs in the areas of fluid dynamics, finite-element simulations, aerodynamics, flight mechanics, and more. Airbus actively uses advanced computing solutions in these areas. We strongly believe quantum computing, in tandem with more traditional high-performance computing (HPC) solutions, can help us to solve key computationally intensive tasks.
  • Quantum communication: Today’s cryptographic algorithms – such as the widely used encryption via asymmetric keys – will not be able to sustain attacks by the quantum computers of tomorrow. Our goal is to develop a future secure communications infrastructure for our aerospace platforms based on security-enhancing quantum information technologies (algorithms, authentications, keys).  
  • Quantum sensing: Quantum sensors are effective at measuring physical quantities such as frequency, acceleration, rotation rates, electric and magnetic fields, and temperature with the highest relative and absolute accuracy. We believe this could have direct applications in improving our navigation systems in which precise acceleration measurement is used to achieve position data. In addition, quantum sensors could act as payloads for a range of different applications, such as climate dynamics from satellites or underground resources surveying from an aircraft. 

Partnering with quantum technology experts

Quantum technologies will enable Airbus to answer advanced flight-physics challenges. To do so, we partner with external experts—from academia and start-ups to industry—to optimally merge quantum technologies and capabilities with our aerospace competencies.

Examples of our collaborations include the following:

  • Airbus has established a partnership with IonQ to collaborate on the development of quantum algorithms for aerospace use cases in the field of optimization.
  • Airbus Ventures has invested in IonQQ-CTRL, and QC Ware, amongst others, and continues to seek out startups significantly impacting the future of quantum technology.
  • The Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge builds bridges to academia and start-ups by enabling participants to work on real industrial cases across a variety of aerospace challenges,
  • We also provide support to the University of Bristol's Quantum Technology Innovation Centre.
  • In 2023, Airbus, BMW Group, and Quantinuum published the results of a research focused on modelling chemical reactions within hydrogen fuel cells, with the objective of developing new and better performing materials. This research aims to address a significant challenge in the development of Airbus's hydrogen-powered aircraft.

Airbus and BMW Group Quantum Computing Challenge

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