Q-CTRL, Defence partner for quantum navigation

By on 12 July, 2023
Image by CPOIS Damian Pawlenko, courtesy Department of Defence.

Australian quantum infrastructure software company, Q-CTRL, has today announced a partnership with Australia’s Department of Defence to develop quantum sensors that will deliver quantum-assured enhanced positioning and navigation capability for military platforms.

The program will build on Q-CTRL’s software-ruggedised quantum sensing technology.

According to the company, quantum-enhanced navigation will deliver the ability for vehicles to position themselves accurately over long periods when GPS is unavailable or untrustworthy.

Reliance on GPS for civilian and military navigation has become a critical vulnerability, with limited access to or outright denial of GPS signals estimated to cause economic losses of more than US$1 billion per day in the US alone should it occur.

Q-CTRL says that is technology uses the quantum physics of atoms to detect motion and small changes in the Earth’s gravitational field, leveraging these signals to enable navigation over extended periods.

Fielding quantum navigation is unlocked by both proprietary hardware design and software-ruggedisation that boosts performance in the field by hundreds of times.

Q-CTRL recently demonstrated that it can ruggedise quantum sensors entirely in software, to maintain advantages even in challenging field environments, such as moving platforms subject to strong vibrations.

“From day one we knew that our specialised expertise in quantum control could unlock totally new applications of quantum technology,” said Q-CTRL CEO and founder, Professor Michael J. Biercuk.

“We’ve shown we can boost the performance of quantum computers and quantum sensors by orders of magnitude — entirely through software. Now we’re pleased to be applying these capabilities to a critical defence mission for Australia.”

“Defence recognises that quantum sensing has the potential to fundamentally transform Defence capability,” added the Interim Head of the Advanced Strategic Capabilities Accelerator, Professor Emily Hilder.

“Partnerships of this kind demonstrate our capacity to translate innovative concepts into capability, delivered by a world-class Australian deep-tech company.

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