Local commercial truck driving instructors, Wind River Job Corps students and local trucking employers were introduced to virtual reality (VR) at Wind River Job Corps.
According to training software designer Talon Innovative Solutions of Lander, about 60% of commercial drivers will not pass the pre-drive evaluation when testing for their license (the pre-drive is one of three parts necessary to pass to obtain a commercial truck driving license). That has economic impact on the drivers’ families and their employers as they wait out the 3 month period before they can take the test again. As a remedy, Talon has created a VR training environment to help students and drivers better prepare for the pre-drive evaluation.
Virtual Reality creates a simulated test situation. However, instead of trainees viewing a flat simulator screen, they are fully immersed in a 3D experience that feels more real, and in which they interact using their hands. This kind of training is very effective in medical schools, but Talon is the first (and only) in the nation to apply it to commercial truck driving.
Wearing Oculus goggles, students are presented with a truck. Using their fingers to point, equipment pertinent to the pre-drive is highlighted. Over the student’s shoulder (as if the DMV evaluator) questions are presented that the student must answer to progress. Once the first zone is completed, the student can tele-port to the next zone until they’ve gone completely around the virtual truck and trailer. At the end of the experience, they are presented with a scorecard that tells them if they passed the pre-drive, and which zones they should work to improve. There are numerous opportunities and potential methods for this product within Job Corps.
BTI (Bonneville Transport) of Riverton, was invited to attend the demonstration along with Job Corps staff and students in an effort to obtain real-industry feedback. CEOs, Clair Anderson and Corte McGuffy were able to offer students multiple insights as they participated in the VR experience. BTI transports minerals all over Wyoming and California, and hopes to provide work-based learning opportunities as well as jobs to Job Corps students.
This technology was developed by Mary and Colt Murray of Talon Innovative Solutions, headquartered in Lander. Mary’s background is in training and education, while Colt’s is in the energy field, which includes truck driving. You can learn more about Talon and the training program on their Facebook page (Talon Solutions). Additionally, they are in the running for a $50,000 small business grant from FedEx if they can muster the necessary votes through March 8. The link to participate is www.smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com (scroll down to vote, search Talon Innovative Solutions). Participants can vote once per day.