Quantum Computing

Q-CTRL to Partner with the Australian Department of Defense on Quantum Navigation Technology


Insider Summary

  • Q-CTRL will partner with the Australian Department of Defense to develop quantum sensors for quantum-based navigation systems for the military.
  • Enhanced quantum positioning and navigation capabilities are built on Q-CTRL quantum sensing technology.
  • This technology could help the military reduce its dependence on increasingly vulnerable global positioning systems.

PRESS RELEASE — Q-CTRL, a global leader in developing useful quantum technologies through quantum infrastructure software, today announced a partnership with the Australian Department of Defense to develop quantum sensors which will provide quantum assured navigation capabilities for military platforms. The program will provide enhanced quantum positioning and navigation capabilities built on the industry-leading Q-CTRL software quantum sensing technology.

Quantum-enhanced navigation will give vehicles the ability to position accurately over long periods of time when GPS is unavailable or unreliable, opening new frontiers for defense operations. In air, space, underground, and underwater, quantum navigation enables long endurance missions that would otherwise be impossible, and secures positioning from jamming or spoofing by hostile adversaries.

The reliance on GPS for civilian and military navigation has become a critical vulnerability for governments and private sector organizations around the world. Restricted access or outright denial of GPS signals would cause an estimated economic loss of over $1 billion per day in the US alone.

Existing alternatives to GPS provide limited benefits, suffering from quickly accumulating errors that can pose tremendous risks to defense missions. For example, most naval vessels use a backup “inertial navigation” system that senses motion to assist with positioning, but can cause the ship to go off course for miles after just a few hours without GPS – enough to steer the ship into underwater obstacles overnight under bad condition. condition.

Q-CTRL technology uses the quantum physics of the atom to detect movement and tiny changes in Earth’s gravitational field, leveraging these signals to enable long-time navigation. Quantum sensors provide highly reliable outputs because their signals come from basic laws of physics, unlike mechanical or electrical systems which degrade over time or under different operating conditions.

Fielding quantum navigation on real defense platforms is unlocked by proprietary hardware designs and software hardware that increase performance in the field hundreds of times.

Q-CTRL is a pioneer in deploying AI-enhanced infrastructure software to enhance the operation of quantum hardware. The team’s recent breakthrough results demonstrated that they can ruggedize quantum sensors entirely in software, to maintain gains even in challenging field environments, such as moving platforms subject to strong vibrations.

“From day one we knew that our special expertise in quantum control could open up completely new applications of quantum technology,” said CEO and Founder of Q-CTRL Prof. Michael J. Biercuk. “We have shown that we can increase the performance of quantum computers and quantum sensors by an order of magnitude – entirely through software. Now we are excited to be able to apply this capability to critical defense missions for Australia.”

Interim Head of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator, Professor Emily Hilder said the collaboration with Q-CTRL was essential to deliver quantum enhanced navigation. “The Defense recognizes that quantum sensing has the potential to fundamentally change Defense capabilities. Such partnerships demonstrate our ability to translate innovative concepts into capabilities, delivered by world-class Australian technology companies.”

Q-CTRL announced its quantum sensing division in 2022, led by Dr Russell Anderson and focused on realizing a new generation of software-defined quantum sensors. The team has previously worked with partners including Advanced Navigation and the Australian Army to demonstrate and deliver this technology for applications including remote drone detection. Latest expansion to the US and UK directly supporting the goal of providing the team’s unique capabilities to Australia’s closest technology-sharing partner.

The company’s latest contract supports the first multi-year effort to deploy and validate miniaturized systems on a defense platform. This is one of the first international partnerships between the government and the private sector to apply quantum technologies in real defense settings.


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