Stadler provides VR tech so that drivers can test new trains 1

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Train builder Stadler is providing virtual reality technology to Nexus, operator of the Tyne and Wear Metro light rail rapid transit system in England, so that drivers can participate in the design of a new fleet

Quick read

➨ The virtual reality experience provides a tour of the new train’s state-of-the-art driver’s cab. It allows Metro drivers to offer essential feedback on the controls, layout and instrument displays
➨ Stadler will provide virtual reality headsets and the experience to Nexus, the public body that owns and manages Metro, so that driver familiarisation work can begin immediately
➨ Up to 155 drivers will take time out of their working day to use the virtual reality headsets over a nine-week consultation period

The story

Train drivers in Northeast England will test the upgraded cabins of a new fleet in virtual reality as part of a contract between Stadler and Nexus.

Switzerland-based train builder Stadler isn’t delivering the new £362 million fleet for the Tyne and Wear Metro light rail rapid transit system until 2023, so drivers will tour them in virtual reality to familiarise themselves and provide design feedback.

The virtual reality experience provides a tour of the new train’s state-of-the-art driver’s cab. It allows Metro drivers to offer essential feedback on the controls, layout and instrument displays.

Stadler will provide virtual reality headsets and the experience to Nexus, the public body that owns and manages Metro, so that driver familiarisation work can begin immediately.

Up to 155 drivers will take time out of their working day to use the virtual reality headsets over a nine-week consultation period.

The data will be sent back to Stadler’s designers in Switzerland to iron out any issues before the production line rolls in 2021. Forty-six trains will be provided up until 2024.

‘Highly versatile design tool’

Metro development director Neil Blagburn says virtual reality “is a highly versatile design tool that allows us to consult our drivers in a Covid-secure way”.

“The technology delivers a wholly immersive experience that allows them to explore the computer-generated cab and provide feedback that the designers can use to refine the cab design.”

He adds: “The use of VR helps ensure that when the time comes for them to get behind the controls we have delivered the best possible layout for them.”

Stadler provides VR tech so that drivers can test new trains 2
The virtual reality experience provides a tour of the new train’s state-of-the-art driver’s cab

Adrian Wetter, project manager at Stadler, says the train builder is using virtual reality “to get feedback from its clients, their staff and passengers throughout the build process and to ensure that the right train is built for them. Using virtual reality headsets as part of driver training is one example of this.”

Wetter continues: “The kit enables drivers to get a feel for the new trains from the very early stages of the project, and means that they can prepare for them well in advance. This ultimately saves time and resources.”

“Furthermore, comments and observations from drivers on the experience is essential for the cab design, contributing to its overall usability and comfort.”

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Images: Nexus

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