Airbus Exploring Quantum Computing Technology for Aerospace Industry

On January 22, 2019, Airbus launched a quantum computing challenge that will the help company explore the technology that can transform the aircraft lifecycle. The possibilities of using quantum computing will help improve the overall efficiency of the aerospace industry.

MarketsandMarkets™ Viewpoint:

Vaibhav Dixit, Associate Vice President : Aerospace & Defense at MarketsandMarkets™ Research Private Limited, shares his point of view as mentioned below:

Airbus is one of the leaders of the aerospace industry and has managed to dominate over the past few decades. The company continuously improves its offerings by implementing technological developments to provide customer satisfaction. The use of the conventional computer has significantly changed the aviation sector since its inception. However, conventional computers have now reached their optimum computing limits towards enabling further developments in processing capabilities. Thus, the use of quantum computing holds a possible solution to all the modern-day problems faced by all industries. Since quantum computing was theorized in 1982 by Paul A. Benioff, an American physicist, quantum computer technology has evolved significantly. The key distinguishing feature of quantum computing is that it uses atoms rather than transistors for processing information.

Impact On The Quantum Computing Market

Quantum computers use the laws of quantum mechanics, where data known as qubits can be stored in states, such as 0s or 1s or any number between these simultaneously. However, modern-day computers using transistors can store information in only 2 states, 0s and 1s, which limit their processing power when compared to quantum computers.

The use of quantum computing will help answer some very critical questions that will revolutionize the aerospace industry and increase revenues by tenfold. Moreover, other industry players have realized the potential applications of quantum computing and are investing heavily to perfect this technology. The aerospace giant Boeing has launched a new Disruptive Computing and Networks (DC&N) organization for the development of computing and communication solutions in October 2018.

Airbus (Quantum Computing)

In 2015, a quantum computing unit was established at the Newport plant in the UK by Airbus Defense and Space. Moreover, in 2016, QC Ware, an American quantum software company, received significant investments from Airbus. According to MarketsandMarkets™, the quantum computing market is expected to be valued at USD 495.3 Million by 2023, at a CAGR of 29.04% between 2017 and 2023. Additionally, other emerging markets, such as the aircraft computers market is projected to reach USD 7,869.3 Million by 2022 and grow at a CAGR of 5.91% from 2017 to 2022. Similarly, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the aviation market was valued at USD 112.3 Million in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 2,222.5 Million by 2025, at a CAGR of 46.65% during the forecast period.

Airbus understands the potential of this technology and plans to use it for digital modeling and simulating the airflow over a wing. The current technology requires between 7 to 7.5 years to generate a model for processing the airflow over wings. Whereas, quantum computers promise to model the same process in a span of few weeks with an astonishing level of precision. This would optimize the time required in the design and development of new aircraft. Moreover, these new aircraft developed with the use of the quantum computing modeling and simulation technique will deliver the highest operational efficiency, with significantly reduced fuel consumption, and improved lift capabilities with reduced drag. The drastic reduction in manufacturing time will lead to the increasing production of aircraft units, increasing company revenues, and reducing order backlogs, thus giving Airbus an upper hand over its competitors.

Impact on Top Competitors:

Incorporation of quantum computing in the aerospace industry by Airbus will have a significant impact on competitors as well as on the entire aircraft supply chain. Airbus will be able to speed up the manufacturing process to cater the ever-increasing demand for aircraft around the world, reducing its backlogs. Moreover, quantum computers will aid in the development of new aircraft superior to those of its competitors, providing Airbus a competitive advantage. Aircraft manufacturers, such as Lockheed Martin, Embraer, and The Boeing Company are also investing heavily for the integration of the quantum computing technology in their products and services.


The ambitious efforts to explore the possibilities of quantum computing for the aerospace industry by Airbus is expected to help it capture the maximum market share in future. In 2018, Airbus has seen an 11% increase in the aircraft deliveries with 800 aircraft delivered as compared to the previous year. However, there are significant backlogs that the company is struggling with. Investing in this technology will provide long term solutions for the company. Moreover, it will not take long for Airbus to perfect and implement this technology to increase aircraft deliveries. Following Airbus’ lead, other major aircraft manufacturers will follow by adopting upcoming technologies, such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence to maintain their leadership in the industry. However, in order to perfect the technology, the participation of players from other industries, such as semiconductor & electronics, information & technology, chemical & materials will be needed.

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