Jun. 02, 2021
Sumitomo Corporation
Tohoku University
OneSky Systems, Inc.

Commencement of pilot experiment for developing flight routes for numerous air mobility vehicles by quantum computing~Global industry-academia collaboration among Sumitomo Corporation, Tohoku University and OneSky Systems, Inc.~

Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo), Tohoku University (Location:Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture、President:Hideo Ohno) and OneSky Systems, Inc. (Head Office: Pennsylvania, US; CEO: Robert Hammett) (hereinafter collectively, three parties) have commenced a pilot program for developing thousands of flight routes for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles by quantum computing starting from June 2021 and ending on December 2021(hereinafter, “Pilot Program”). This Pilot Program is essential for realization of future advanced air mobility, in which numerous UAM vehicles, e.g. air taxis, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), e.g. drones will be flying. 

Advanced air mobility is the next-generation means of transportation, using airspace as a transportation network. Urban air mobility specifically is expected to reduce transportation times in urban areas and facilitate mobility for remote islands and mountainous areas. It will also reduce emergency response time. Many automotive, logistics, and mobility companies are already developing UAM vehicles and UAVs around the world.

It is expected that numerous air mobility vehicles and UAV will be flying in our skies by late 2030s, and a digital airspace management system, called Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) will be needed. More specifically, optimized flight routing and scheduling, will be required to realize such world. Many factors including vehicle performance, load capacity, geography and weather will need to be considered in order to develop optimized flight routes and scheduling, but it is hard to achieve due to current computing power limitations. 

Under the Pilot Program, optimized flight routes and scheduling for UAM vehicles and UAV will be developed by leveraging quantum computing technology. Sumitomo Corporation will oversee the entire project and simulate UAM vehicles and UAV flying in urban areas leveraging OneSky Systems, Inc.’s UTM system and utilizing quantum computing technologies by Tohoku University. 

Sumitomo Corporation through Sumitomo Corporation of Americas has acquired a stake in OneSky Systems, Inc. in April 2020, and is contributing to building the future advanced air mobility ecosystem. Sumitomo Corporation has inaugurated the QX Project (Quantum Transformation Project) to revolutionize society through quantum technology in March 2021. Through the QX Project, Sumitomo Corporation as an integrated trading company aims to be a leader in achieving social change with quantum technology. 

Tohoku University is leading university for quantum technology, as demonstrated through their participation and thought leadership in numerous pilot experiments. Tohoku University promoting quantum computing technologies and its application to the industry. Recently, as Tohoku University announced the searches of the refuge course at the time of the disaster such as tsunamis and effective delivery automated vehicle in factories. Tohoku University also concluded a collaborative research agreement with Sumitomo Corporation in March, 2021 and will accelerate the application of the quantum computer.

OneSky Systems, Inc. is a global UTM company developing airspace assessment, operations and traffic management solutions for the aviation industry. OneSky Systems, Inc.’s goal is to harmonize our sky - ensuring safe, efficient, and scalable access to all airspace users. OneSky Systems, Inc.  takes a robust and long-term approach to UTM, envisioning the challenges ahead as traffic management is unified for all operators.  By working with all stakeholders - drone operators, drone manufacturers, and airspace authorities - OneSky Systems, Inc. understands the unique challenges of this ecosystem and serve the critical needs of the community. Through this Pilot program, the three parties will contribute to the acceleration of advanced air mobility by utilizing quantum computing.


■Related images : UAM vehicles and UAV flying urban areas

Corporate Communications Department, Sumitomo Corporation
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