In the past decades, significant advancements have taken place in quantum cryptography, with around 100 groups around the world working on technologies such as quantum key distribution. Other areas such as quantum communications and quantum computing are still at a more fundamental level of development.
The two main advantages often highlighted when discussing quantum technologies are significantly increased computing power and increased security.
The purpose of developing an inducement prize in this area would be to overcome significant technological barriers and accelerate change to bring new ideas to light. For example, in the area of quantum communications, the challenge could be that of developing technologies that can support the transmission of quantum information over long distances.
The space race helped develop many technologies we use today, such as digital imaging chips. But space hardware has not made the same progress as consumer technology, making access to space costlier than it needs to be.
We want to bring the radical innovations seen in consumer electronics into the commercial space sector.
Innovations in miniaturisation have great potential to cut costs, improve satellite design and support commercial space applications. The UK’s thriving space sector stands to benefit from these innovations, and society will benefit from cheaper and more ubiquitous use of satellite services. For that to happen, there need to be new incentives that embolden satellite designers to take risks and make changes.