We had reported in February how Quantum-South had created a prototype quantum application that could optimize how air cargo should be loaded optimally into a freighter aircraft. It is a very complex problem for classical computers because one must take into account many different targets and constraints including revenue, priority, center of gravity, shear force and volume, and industry standard weight and balance restrictions. Researchers often refer to this type of problem as a Knapsack Problem. Providing an optimum solution to this problem for each flight can have a tremendous profitability impact for airline companies, because over a hundred billion dollars is spent each year in air freight shipments. Quantum-South had started developing this application as a submission to the Airbus Quantum Computing Challenge in 2019, during which Quantum South was selected as one of the global finalists in the competition.
Quantum-South has now declared their application ready for production use with popular Airbus A330-200F or Boeing 747-400 air freighters. Their software currently runs on the D-Wave quantum annealer for these aircraft and can provide a solution within minutes. Quantum-South also has a version of their application that can run on gate-based quantum computers for small scale freighters, but these processors will need to increase in size before the application can support the larger freighters. Quantum-South is also working on a version of this application that can support maritime cargo. The problem is similar, but the constraints can be different.
Additional information about Quantum-South’s air cargo optimization application is available in a news release posted on their website here.
May 13, 2022