HGV drivers are just one set of new users in need of VR training
➨ Easy As HGV and Virti are utilising the immersive technology’s flexibility and speed to great effect in a new partnership
➨ The HGV training company wants to get new drivers on the road faster in 2022, amid a shortage of available vehicles as well as qualified drivers and candidates to replace them
➨ To accomplish this, Easy As HGV is incorporating fully immersive VR simulations and 360-degree video content into the training process
Virtual reality’s (VR) usefulness as a training tool is well documented, but less so are its flexibility to serve a variety of roles and jobs, as well as its ability to speed up learning.
Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) training company Easy As HGV and Virti are utilising the immersive technology’s flexibility and speed to great effect in a new partnership.
Easy As HGV, which works with more than 90 training centres across the UK, wants to get new drivers on the road faster in 2022, amid a shortage of available vehicles as well as qualified drivers and candidates to replace them.
To accomplish this, Easy As HGV is incorporating fully immersive VR simulations and 360-degree video content into the training process to help new drivers learn key safety procedures more effectively and get test-ready quicker.
VR’s flexibility means Virti has been able to direct content toward some of the core skills required to acquire an HGV licence.
Filmed by the Virti team at an HGV driver training centre in Surrey, the VR training simulations allow trainees to follow an instructor through the walkaround pre-drive safety checks, the process for coupling and uncoupling the cab and load, and how to carry out reversing manoeuvres.
The new simulations have been created to train candidates for the Category C+E test, which is the licence required to operate lorries that weigh more than 3500kg and a trailer that weighs 750kg+.
VR’s ability to rapidly upskill new drivers is also crucial for Easy As HGV.
Typically, the process of training and acquiring a large vehicle licence takes eight to 10 weeks. With enquiries to train increasing by 400% in the past six months, the training company, which trains up to 500 drivers per month, hopes the immersive technology will improve test performance by 25% and get more drivers on the road this year.
Tom McGhie, managing director at Easy As HGV, underlines the urgency with which new HGV drivers are required in the UK and explains why the company turned to VR: “It’s no secret that the HGV sector is in crisis. We desperately need to train up more drivers—and fast.”
“We’re being inundated with enquiries and people are incredibly keen to learn. It’s therefore crucial that we can innovate to allow more people to come through the system, but that we use tools that uphold our commitment to safety and quality.”
He continues: “This VR training is going to be invaluable as it will enable candidates to revise and practice the skills they learn in our training course before they take their test. It’s far more effective than having them read a textbook or watch a standard, non-interactive video.”
“The tech has been designed to test and challenge our candidates, so that they’re better prepared for the test, and research indicates that they’ll retain this crucial safety information much more effectively as a result.”
“The feedback from candidates so far has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to rolling the new training materials out further and seeing the impact over the coming weeks.”
Dr Alex Young, chief executive officer and founder of Virti, adds: “We’ve built a set of simulations to speed up and improve the training process and qualify candidates more quickly using virtual reality. There’s no better way to embed learning and build confidence than to give people repeated opportunities to immerse themselves in the training scenario.”
Used to complement rather than replace traditional training, VR has the potential to increase the accuracy of decision making and improve learning retention rates, as well as improve performance by up to 230%.
Easy As HGV and Virti’s partnership also shows that VR can also be deployed in unexpected business and professional settings where the immersive technologies have not been used before.
As Dr Young points out: “For a long time, people tended to associate VR with gaming. But it’s in teaching and training scenarios that the technology really comes into its own. At Virti, we specialise in helping companies build data-driven, immersive deep learning tools to transform how people learn and help them remember skills and information for longer.”
“We’re really excited to be working with Easy As HGV to help them respond quickly and effectively to the HGV driver shortage.”