The UK Ministry of Defence will experiment with integrating quantum computers into battlefield tanks to determine if the technology can improve their capabilities.
British tech firm ORCA Computing announced last week that it had reached an agreement with the ministry to purchase a PT-1 model quantum computer.
The model is the “first of its kind” to fit on a shelf and operate at room temperature, making it suitable for combat vehicle operations.
According to an ORCA spokesperson, the computer is designed to make communication on the battlefield significantly easier.
The technology can also be used for improved image recognition and sensor management, supporting various missions.
“This technology will make information processing for command decisions on the battlefield more agile and reduce risks from data sharing with an undeployable processor located off the battlefield,” the official told New Scientist.
Quantum computing is an emerging technology that allows the calculation of complex math equations and problems at unprecedented speed.
It utilizes qubits to run algorithms, unlike conventional machines that use bits or binary code to relay tasks.
The PT-1 model offers relative portability missing in other variants of quantum computers, allowing it to remain compact and avoid “expensive refrigeration.”
Previous quantum computers have required a controlled environment of 0 degrees Celsius to function.
“Accessing our own quantum computing hardware will not only accelerate our understanding of quantum computing, but the computer’s room-temperature operation will also give us the flexibility to use it in different locations for different requirements,” British Defence Science and Technology Laboratory official Stephen Till said.
Apart from smooth communication, the other proposed use of quantum computers in battlefield tanks includes advancements in information processing for improved command decision-making.