UPS said it will start training student delivery drivers to spot and identify road hazards using Virtual Reality (VR) headsets that vividly simulate the experience of driving on city streets while teaching a more memorable classroom lesson.
The company will begin launching VR training in September at its nine UPS Integrad training facilities. The adoption of VR for driver safety training reflects UPS’s commitment to using the latest and best technology to protect its on-road employees and the communities they serve.
IT experts at UPS created the VR training modules that users see and hear inside VR headsets like the HTC Vive. Students using the modules must verbally identify potential road hazards such as pedestrians, parked cars and oncoming traffic. The 360-degree view inside the headset is realistic down to the finest details.
“Virtual Reality offers a big technological leap in the realm of driver safety training,” said Juan Perez, UPS chief information and engineering officer. “VR creates a hyper-realistic streetscape that will dazzle even the youngest of our drivers whose previous exposure to the technology was through video games.”
The VR training modules replace the touchscreen devices UPS Integrad facilities currently use to teach lessons on road hazards. For now, the VR training is only for those who drive package delivery trucks. But the company is exploring VR and even Augmented Reality (AR) for training tractor trailer drivers and performing other duties throughout the operation.
UPS currently operates eight UPS Integrad facilities in the United States and two others in Europe. Another U.S. facility is set to open this year, bringing the total to nine in the United States.
UPS Integrad facilities teach students the fundamentals of driving delivery vehicles and delivering packages using a hands-on approach. Students even practice driving UPS delivery trucks in a replica outdoor city that has real streets and sidewalks and simulated delivery and pickup sites.
UPS Integrad and its use of the latest technology supports the company’s safety culture. UPS has more than 9,000 drivers in its Circle of Honor, an elite group of drivers who have not had an avoidable accident in at least 25 years.
The first UPS Integrad opened in Landover, Md., in 2007. The training – based on the philosophy “Teach me. Show me. Let me.” – occurs before students begin more intensive on-road training. Nearly 9,000 drivers have graduated from UPS Integrad locations since 2007.
“This training is foundational, and Virtual Reality brings it to life,” said Jeanne Lawrence, UPS Integrad expansion director. “VR complements real-world training in a way that deeply engages our employees in the UPS Integrad curriculum.”
UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the web at ups.com® or pressroom.ups.com and its corporate blog can be found at longitudes.ups.com. To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_News on Twitter.