Quantum computing could be a big money-spinner in manufacturing and logistics, according to a new report from technology investment analysts, CB Insights.

Once quantum devices become a mature, enterprise-grade technology, the Logistics sector alone could see new annual revenue opportunities of between $50 billion and $100 billion, says the report. The boost would come from using quantum algorithms in vehicle routing and optimisation.

As a horizontal sector, Manufacturing could see $30 billion a year in new revenue streams from using quantum simulation in materials design.

Aerospace alone could achieve new revenues of $20 billion from quantum-aided materials design, and the same figure again from using quantum simulation to power computational fluid dynamics.

The Automotive sector could drive similar benefits, while also using quantum simulation in the structural design of new vehicles.

Catalyst and enzyme design (up to $50 in annual revenues), solar conversion in the Energy sector ($30 billion), high-tech battery design ($40 billion), and drug discovery and development ($80 billion) are further areas that could benefit from new quantum simulation techniques – almost certainly combined with AI.

Meanwhile, quantum machine learning could aid in the design of automated/autonomous vehicle algorithms.

Yet despite the vast economic promise of quantum computing – and other quantum technologies, including sensors and communications – the technology remains speculative and experimental.

But according to CB Insights, a big five of US technology giants – Microsoft, IBM, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, and Intel – are battling for dominance in the sector, mirrored by the likes of Alibaba, Baidu, and others, in China.

The urgency of patent competition and the need to explore quantum reinforcements across product lines suggest that the five believe the arrival of enterprise-grade quantum hardware and applications is a certainty.

The cloud will be both battleground and main delivery platform for quantum services, suggests the report, with a key driver being the new discipline of post-quantum cryptography (PQC). This is the protection of current communications channels and data processing from quantum computers’ ability to crack classical encryption techniques.

A handful of quantum start-ups, notably Cambridge Quantum (UK), IonQ, and PsiQuantum, have caught the attention of the Big Five, which have either invested in them or are working in partnership with them.