Optimizing the Connected World with Quantum

Maximize operational efficiency, cut costs, and elevate customer satisfaction with quantum-powered route optimization.

5 min readMar 15, 2024

By: Kartik Dixit, Lead, Technical Delivery, Customer Applications at D-Wave

The Logistics Industry Is Ready for Reinvention

In an era of increased connectedness and demand for wider service coverage, logistics optimization is a cornerstone of business success, driving efficiency and reducing costs. When optimized, good logistics practices can help manage limited resources effectively and guarantee a steady supply of goods, even amid challenging situations such as natural disasters or global disruptions.

Expanding markets are unearthing new growth segments, but these opportunities are unreachable without the necessary infrastructure to support the mobilization of the right teams and movement of goods across the supply chain. Ignoring pain points such as poor utilization of excess resources, time wasted on coordination issues, or dealing with unsatisfied customers can be detrimental to both operational efficiency and environmental sustainability.

The increased scale and complexity of managing global delivery networks warrants a more robust solution.

Prioritizing Route Optimization

Route optimization has long been saddled with outdated technologies, undermining overall revenue potential. This makes routing logistics a critical part of the supply chain that is well overdue for transformation. Effectively integrating quantum solutions to address operational bottlenecks can translate into substantial financial returns for companies. What’s more, global mandates for carbon-neutral logistics and increased investor expectations around a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance pressures through route optimization are not just operationally beneficial, but also a matter of building brand equity.

The reality of living in a globalized marketplace means our goods now travel farther and over more complex routes before reaching the final customer. For instance, in the United States, fresh food travels over 1,500 miles (about half the width of the United States) before being consumed, according to a report produced in part by The National Center for Appropriate Technology.

The Challenge for Computing: Addressing Vulnerabilities

With the sheer volume of possible routes for long-distance logistics, managing fluctuating conditions can become a formidable challenge, let alone optimizing the entire transportation network.

Classical computing methods often lack the performance capacity to solve these tough optimization problems within an actionable time frame, if at all. Managing the intricacies of all the parameters contributing to a logistics network requires a more sophisticated technology primed to explore a large volume of combinatorial possibilities and identify the strongest solution with a fast turnaround time.

Annealing quantum computers are uniquely suited to solve optimization problems through the quantum phenomena of superposition and entanglement. In specific cases those effects can allow these devices to process a large set of possibilities to identify good solutions in a much shorter time than classical computers.

Quantum-powered route optimization is a treasure-trove of untapped potential with versatile applications across transportation at all scales. And today, industries are experiencing real-world benefits from these solutions. Quantum technologies offered by D-Wave have started to cross the chasm from experimentation to enterprise-scale adoption.

Learn more about D-Wave’s annealing quantum technology here.

Driving Faster Time-to-Solution: A Tour Optimization Problem Shortens Planning from Days to Minutes

D-Wave’s professional services team built a quantum-hybrid application for Momentum Worldwide, part of the Interpublic Group (IPG), to automate the planning of its promotional team’s tour route, a process that normally requires a team of full-time employees. With a list of over 4,600 possible locations, D-Wave’s quantum-hybrid technology was tasked to decide on which combination of stops to include in the route, addressing an array of client parameters. For instance, each tour stop needed to meet all the predetermined selection criteria and alternate between long and short drives each day.

The D-Wave solution optimized for constraints such as cumulative miles driven across the entire tour and staff budgeting to help minimize costs. Ultimately, we reduced the planning time required from days to 50 minutes.

Making Urban Transport More Sustainable and Efficient: Reducing Demand by 30%

Quantum computing provides a feasible use case for optimizing routes, whether they involve cross-country trucking logistics or automated guided vehicles (AGVs) traversing a factory floor. But benefits are not just limited to supply chain logistics and distribution. The same principles involved in optimizing routes can apply to coordinating ride-share services and multi-modal urban transportation where the quantum technology allocates vehicles for dynamic passenger needs all over the city. For example, D-Wave technology is supporting efforts in Japan, where DENSO, a global manufacturer of automotive components, is translating its route optimization solutions across a wide range of situations to tackle larger problems in community mobility and build a more connected future.

In a proof of concept, DENSO used D-Wave technology for taxi dispatch in Kyoto. DENSO discovered that the solution reduced vehicle needs by 30%, requiring only 43 taxis for 400 rides, compared to 62 with traditional methods. Its Bangkok study showed quantum computing helped a fleet of 18 vehicles reduce mileage and driving time by nearly 10%.

“Quantum technology creates a new era of mobility, factory and society IoT.” — Akira Miki, Advanced Research and Innovation Lab, DENSO

Read the full story.

Seamless Logistics, Powered by Quantum

Quantum-enabled route optimization holds the key to creating faster, smoother and more sustainable transportation to enhance logistics operation for enterprises and beyond. Our customers’ use cases show measurable impact through quantum solutions that augment the decision-making process involved in defining efficient routes, reducing congestion, speeding up time-to-solution and reducing task time by several orders of magnitude. Another benefit? Optimization can also help companies meet government or compliance requirements to reduce carbon emissions.

Discover how our cutting-edge quantum solutions can address your most pressing logistics challenges. Schedule a free demo of the Leap™ quantum cloud service and start your journey to operational excellence.

Gain access to our e-book and explore how quantum computing can transform supply chain and logistics management.

Watch how D-Wave can unlock the power of practical quantum computing for your organization.

About D-Wave

D-Wave is a leader in the development and delivery of quantum computing systems, software, and services, and is the world’s first commercial supplier of quantum computers. Our mission is to unlock the power of quantum computing today to benefit business and society. We do this by delivering customer value with practical quantum applications for problems as diverse as logistics, artificial intelligence, materials sciences, drug discovery, scheduling, cybersecurity, fault detection, and financial modeling.

Discover more on D-Wave’s website.