New technology is revolutionising learning in every sector. Transport and logistics are no exception.
Innovative is commercial driver training provider Fleet Source is developing a transformative approach to driver training that uses virtual reality (VR). “VR represents a huge opportunity for a radical change in driver training, which is both cost effective and truly engaging and we intend to ensure that fleet operators are able to fully embrace that opportunity,” says Fleet Source Chief Executive Nick Caesari. With the sector in demand of well-trained, qualified drivers to meet the needs of the wider economy, overcoming training barriers is a crucial step in ensuring the workforce can react to meet these needs.
The hands-on experience
Thankfully, technology offers an answer to these workforce issues. “By using 360-degree, fully immersive real-life crisis scenarios, we are ensuring our drivers have the best advice, skills and support systems at front of mind, should they have to face those challenges,” says Nick. “VR facilitates learning in a quicker, more retentive and accessible way, with the ability to provide courses wherever fleet operators need them”.
VR uses computer technology to create a simulated environment where users are fully immersed and able to interact with their surroundings in real-time. Researches have shown that people learn better in immersive virtual environments compared to traditional platforms. However, due to the novelty of these innovations, they are relatively untested in the commercial space.
Drivers have welcomed the scheme thus far. One customer even reported that 97 per cent of their drivers thought it was a positive experience. “We have had tremendous feedback from fleet professionals for the VR packages we have produced within our training portfolio,” said Mr Caesari. However, VR is not without its’ limitations. For some individuals, VR can cause motion sickness, limiting the effectiveness of the technology. It can also be expensive to develop and can only be used on small groups at a time. Nonetheless, those who have trailed the course appear to be receiving the benefits.
One of the main advantages of learning with VR is that drivers actively engage in the learning process instead of reading about it or being told what to do. The International Data Corporation predicted that global expenditure on augmented reality and VR training will reach $8.5 billion by 2023. With this expected growth, the logistics sector can expect to benefit alongside others from the opportunities it presents for training staff.
A strong track record
Fleet Source training courses have a history of achievements in the past. In 2018, Fleet Source’s Terrorism Risk & Incident Prevention (TRIP) course was awarded Training Programme of the Year at Talent in Logistics Awards. Regarding the award-winning course, Mr Caesari said: “TRIP has been designed so that commercial fleet operators, managers and drivers can be educated on the risks of terrorism; the nature of the threats that they may face and a range of safety precautions they should implement to significantly reduce the possibilities of their vehicle being hijacked or stolen and used in a terrorist incident”.
Fleet Source’s core mission to improve road safety and save lives was recognised again last year when Transport for London (TfL) appointed Fleet Source as one of two contractors to deliver its funded driver training programmes. The partnership with TfL, which started in 2014, aims to deliver on the objectives of the Mayor of London’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan.
In addition to its’ work with TfL, Fleet Source offers a wide range of courses including Safe UK Driving, Van Smart, Work Related Road Risk CPC and Safe urban Driving in over 80 different locations across the United Kingdom. Its innovative approach gives drivers a first-person experience while enabling instructors to test drivers’ theorical knowledge, response and reaction times. Looking ahead, Fleet Source aims to expand its VR offer onto other courses, allowing drivers to develop essential skills in a virtual world. If applied correctly, this has the potential to improve safety and practice back in the real world. As the technology improves, the opportunities for its application can only get better.