Heavy Duty Trucking

SEP 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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L 34 HDT • SEPTEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com to train in real life — a steer tire blow-out, for instance, or hazardous weather conditions. "One thing that differentiates simulation training from other train- ing models is the fact that during the exercises, the instructor can focus solely on coaching, unlike in-vehicle training where the safety of the student, the instructor and other road users is the No. 1 priority," says Speers. In addition, he says, simula- tors allow for standardized training. "With the simulator, every driver's experience is a common one," Speers says. "If training is done solely in-vehicle, one driver's experience could involve rain or snow, where another's could have perfect conditions. This makes it hard to objec- tively gauge a driver's skill level or instruct them." make sense for some types of training, which is what UPS used in its program. At the same time, increased computing power allows for more realistic simulations, says Mike Speers, manager of business development for DriveWise Canada, which uses simulators in its train- ing programs for fleets. "The new image genera- tion cards and computing power enables for crisper, cleaner graphics and the ability to simulate more complex traffic situations." Simulation experts em- phasize that simulators do not replace real, behind-the-wheel, on-the-road training. However, there are some things simulators can do better than the real thing. Teaching skills Simulators allow you to train driv- ers on situations you can't reliably replicate and/or are too dangerous Deborah Lockridge • Editor in Chief Less than a year after adding driver simulators to supplement its extensive driver training program, UPS saw a 38% reduction in crashes. And they did it without using a huge full-size truck cab simulator that takes up an entire room. Driving simulators have been around for a long time. The technol- ogy today, however, is more sophisti- cated, takes up less space and is more affordable. Historically, simulation has been used when the "cost" of failure is un- acceptable, either in terms of lives or equipment — the military or police, for instance, and with high-value as- sets such as airlines and spacecraft. Historically, it's been a big invest- ment, requiring a dedicated room, proprietary hardware and software that's complex to operate and sup- port. Simulators used to be custom- built for each customer, making changes and updates expensive and time-consuming. "Think about if you had Apple build you a phone as a custom proj- ect, what that would cost," explained Bob Davis, CEO of Virtual Driver Interactive, during a session at this summer's Fleet Safety Conference. "But since you buy it as a product, you can take advantage of all those economies of scale." The same thing is happening in the world of simulators. The cost is dropping, the quality of the user experience is improv- ing, and you don't need a whole room anymore. In fact, there are even portable options that Safety&Compliance Using a simulator in your safety program Although driving simulators have been around for a long time, the current technology is more sophisticated, takes up less space and more affordable. The most common types of simulators today are open-cab designs with a multi-screen field of view, like this VS600M from Virage Simulation. Today, you don't have to devote a whole room to a full-size cab simulator, like this one at Schneider in 2006.

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