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2022.01.17 -  Press Release

Groovenauts and Shimizu Optimize Construction Related Soil Transport Using the Power of Quantum Computers

-Improved productivity at public works construction sites: Verified 10% increase in transport volume-

Translation of the Japanese press release

Groovenauts, Inc. (“Groovenauts”), which engages in quantum computer-related business, has combined forces with Shimizu Corporation (“Shimizu”). Together they have demonstrated an improvement in the productivity of civil engineering undertakings by using ICT technology, such as quantum computers. Specifically, they have successfully improved the dump truck transport of construction-generated soil (earth and sand).

The route which dump trucks use to haul soil and sand from Shimizu's public works construction sites was fed to a quantum computer and a simulation was run. The results showed that without changing the number of dump trucks on the route, the daily volume able to be transported could be increased by approximately 10%. The companies are currently running field tests with the actual vehicles used in the projects.

Utilizing the latest quantum computers to improve productivity at construction sites

The overall progress of a construction project can be greatly influenced by the efficiency of project associated hauling tasks. This is especially true in instances involving tremendous volumes of earth, such as those occurring in highway, dam and tunnel projects. Traditionally, when multiple routes for loading and unloading earth and sand are available, dump trucks are assigned a specific route to follow for the given day. However, with this approach, problems arise when there are sudden traffic jams or other issues impeding routes. Therefore, being able to assign routes in real-time to alleviate such concerns has become an issue.

In order to meet the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism's call for a 20% improvement in productivity at construction sites, Shimizu has proactively turned to utilization of ICT technology. In March 2020, the company teamed up with Groovenauts, a company specializing in the application of advanced thinking, cutting-edge technology, and quantum computers, to tackle the issue by increasing the productivity of its earth debris transport systems.

Optimum route calculation real-time - Substantiation through field testing

When dump trucks transport earth for a construction site, they go between loading and unloading zones, and may also have to use waiting zones. Time loss results due to conditions in each of these zones, as well as because of congestion along routes. In this project, Groovenauts’ MAGELLAN BLOCKS, a cloud platform utilizing quantum computers, calculates optimal routes for approximately 40 dump trucks at Shimizu’s construction sites.

First, MAGELLAN BLOCKS analyzes the number of vehicles in service, their speed, idle time, and the operational efficiency of soil volume per dump truck for each route. It does this by utilizing the log data from GPS devices installed on the dump trucks. This allows for visualization of stagnation, such as areas experiencing extremely low-speed operation. A quantum computer model, known as an Ising model, was constructed with MAGELLAN BLOCKS. This model accounted for these transportation bottlenecks, searched for optimum routes, and verified results through a quantum computer. As a result, it was found that, without changing the number of vehicles in service, the daily transportation volume could be increased by approximately 10%. This finding allows for a strong expectation that the productivity of construction sites will successfully be improved. In addition, reductions in CO2 emissions and alleviation of traffic congestion will in turn lead to the achievement of meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

MAGELLAN BLOCKS is used to acquire GPS, navigation, and other data, in real-time, and provides drivers directions regarding optimum routes, taking into account current road traffic conditions.

Shimizu and Groovenauts will continue to consider methods for notifying drivers of routes and project implementation. The companies plan to further use MAGELLAN BLOCKS to improve the productivity of public works construction at sites that have involved even more earth and sand, more complicated transportation routes and more loading and unloading sites.

Putting quantum computers to use

In this project, an Ising model on a quantum computer (called a quantum annealing machine or Ising machine) was used to work on a "combinatorial optimization problem" that satisfied constraints and searched for the best option from an exceptionally large number of possibilities. This optimization problem, representative of "the traveling salesman problem", is effective at solving various important problems existing in the real world. However, it must be noted that it requires a high level of technical ability and practical interpretation in order to process it with quantum annealing machines.

With its cloud platform MAGELLAN BLOCKS, Groovenauts was the first company to offer the world's first commercialized cloud service utilizing quantum annealing machines. It develops practical Ising model offerings and solutions to resolve problematic business issues, such as those concerning optimization of routes, loads, processes, and shifts. Since MAGELLAN BLOCKS derives Ising models automatically, it can be used without specialized knowledge in the definition of optimization problems or in structuring complex quantum annealing machines. This makes it possible for users to instantly obtain optimum solutions simply by entering the parameters of their business rules and constraints.

About Groovenauts, Inc.

Groovenauts has a vision of "contributing to the realization of a prosperous and humane society," and, in line with people's diverse values, it looks to support the perpetuation of society's future potential and prosperity through the use of technology. The issues facing society today may also be seen as a reflection of the accumulated issues faced by individual companies. That is why Groovenauts looks to unravel complex problems through the power of thought and technology in order to tackle real issues and solve problems in society to support the true potential of human beings.

Hiromi Kaneda
Groovenauts, Inc.