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Why California Rules the Robocar Industry

Google has the cars, the test drivers, the engineers, and the money

2 min read
Why California Rules the Robocar Industry
Photo: Eric Risberg/Corbis

California almost certainly has more self-driving cars and operators on public roads than the rest of the world. That the state is experiencing an autonomous gold rush should not come as a surprise. For a start, its reliably mild, dry, and sunny climate is perfect for road-testing early generations of vehicles that still balk at snow, fog, and heavy rain.

Neighboring Nevada is similarly meteorologically blessed and began licensing experimental autonomous cars several years ahead of California. But the Golden State has the advantage because it’s also home to Silicon Valley, where everything a prospective driverless car manufacturer needs—software engineers, hardware geeks, roboticists, venture capital—is available in a near-endless supply. Virtually every large technology company—and most mainstream automakers—have offices in the Bay Area.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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